Milan Orlich

Birthday poems:
A Simple Birthday’s Poem
of an Eleven-Year Old Boy

On Saturdays we usually shop. This Saturday is different.
Today is my birthday.
Dad and I will, returning from the marketplace, take
Flowers to grandma.
It is autmn and she is preparing rose  preserves. Like
in the princes’ homes,
said grandpa, when he was still alive and teaching me
how to fish.
To hold breath, while watching the float, was the first
thing I learned from
him.To mom we are bringing food for the festive lunch.
For my birthday,
my sister is getting a doll. And the first computer. It is,
says mom, so she
would not be jealous. My computer  I have had since
I have known myself.
For the winter I’ll get new skis.Really needed. Suddenly
I started growing,
like a weed, and my feet are like a child’s grave. That is
what our neighbor
says. The father of the lass with a tress, the one I will
give to no one.
Those are not the words of our neighbor, but Mick of the
blond cow-lick,
as called by my aunt. She is bragging she knew him
personally. Perhaps
that is why she forced me to learn his poem by heart.
I do not regret,
the poem is cute, yet  my aunt did not understand I am
too old for it and
should’ve learned it earlier. This spring, from savings,
my personal, I’m gonna
buy  a sport bike. Daddy goes to Germany to work.
Aglow from joy
while telling how Germans need his expertise. What is
the point if mom
doesn’t let him go. Seems she won’t. Today, during
the lunch dad will
argue that he is again ready to sacrifice  his humongous
gast-arbeiter’s contribution
on the family altar. I don’t know what that actually means,
but I know my sis will
ask him to bring her from Germany new rackets and tennis
gear. Mom will
ironically remind him there are things not to be found
in money. Dad will
just laugh and ask if some of it may be in golden bars.
That is how they
squabble in a nice way. Then between two bites, to make
a stronger effect,
to me and my sis, he  winks, before he stings mom again:
Or maybe there is
something in a new car, he’d say, I’ll bring back? To stop
nasty words, grandma
will, looking over her eyeglasses, stop the dispute by
quoting her famous
proverb -- the mind rules.Though I have never discovered
where her land
of wisdom is. She must’ve  hidden it awfully well, if I
don’t have the faintest
idea. After lunch, daddy will act as the most worn out
architect in the world
who, without a rest, now, will vanish like the pandas.
I cannot wait for
the evening, we have rented a cafe for my birthday party.
It will be
a real blast, all who mean something at school

Translated from Serbian: Mira N. Mataric, 2009.

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