Praha, Czech Republic

Jeremy Rich

This catalyst country, a handful of split ends 
Still gripped inverted by one leg 
cry of freedom pending, 
Communism still hangs a wet paint sign here

Cinereal cement clashes with scar worn cobblestone streets 
That hum like quick zippers with passing cars 
Even the clouds seem stiff and reflective of sound.

Echoes here are hard to pinpoint
Some ring the same in any language

An old woman yells to two teen daughters 
Who linger long at the third story window 
Her throat sandpapered raw 
A guttural bellow 
Of a different time

Feet heavy with intent 
Thud back and forth across the ceiling 
Walls rattle with force 
Iron door slamming, 
Shutting cold air outside 
Bubbling cobblestone moat divides

But floorboards are not the only things that moan 
Awake for work, with daylight still asleep 
Tiptoeing sock-footed to the bathroom 
At this hour between late arrivals and early risers 
It continues. 
Bodies pain for the warm weight of blankets 
kissing black coffee they crane their necks

No translation needed 
A cry crashes free 
Bounces around shatters the ashen sky 
softly glowing to embers


About the Author

Jeremy Rich is an 8th grade Language Arts teacher in Colorado. His poetry has appeared in Watershed, Take Back The Night, Chantarelle’s Notebook, Ceremony, Thick with Conviction, Speedpoets, Poetic Hours, and Lowestoft Chronicle, as well as various other print and online journals.