In America windows open half-way,
the lower half raised next to the higher—
so you can never let in enough air;
you cannot open the window inside
to wash the outside;
once the glass is fit in, that’s it!
The window gets dirtier, darker,
dustier—and then you can’t see through.
The window becomes another wall,
with no air or sunshine penetrating.
The existence of windows loses meaning,
people don’t look through them any more,
artificial lighting lights the rooms—
what little life there was inside dies,
but now they have invented
artificial fertilizers to help the plants
grow upwards without the sun’s rays.
Can they do that for people too?
American scientists, yes, you
who have invented so much already—
is it too hard for you to invent
windows that can be washed?
Or is it a conspiracy against your people
and that which produces life?
Biljana D. Obradović
from her book Le Riche Monde
Raška Škola, Belgrade 1999
used with permission of the poet