We spiral down slowly
over Sofia. The surrounding land agrarian
almost Bavarian: farms, yellow
fields, hay bales, red rooftops.
Mount Vitosha looms
enduring, gentle guardian.
The city proper asserts itself
with jutting man-made shapes
of questionable function and Soviet
apartment blocks. Yet green patches
amidst the concrete: stubborn life rises
from the confines of its past.
On the ground in a little rental car
we exit the airport,
pass through a Roma settlement
curious eyes glinting
through missing windowpanes. I am reminded
of your tale about Pembe:
a young nomadic woman with violet
eyes, barely real
held fleetingly, longed for
into old age.
In the Oborishte neighborhood at night
branches are down
leaves litter the street, surrendered
by imposing trees
to last night’s ravaging hailstorm.
We unload our suitcases
into the graffiti’d entrance
of a utilitarian building, glancing
over our shoulders
at shadows and silhouettes.
Finally, a tiny elevator
delivers us to the fourth floor:
an airy apartment, huge
windows glassy black, armored
and blind to the outside, our eyes
wide in the dark
waiting for morning, waiting
for the veil to lift over Sofia.