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Thursday, July 31, 2008


by Claudia Serea

What goes on behind the closed doors
when dinner is served at seven
to the most powerful men in the world?

New borders might be traced on a napkin,
plans of alliances or invasions,
the sauce spattered ends wars
and peace treaties are drawn
with wine stains.

Let’s have dessert, says the prime minister,
as the two presidents grin.

Oh, humble napkin forgotten on the floor
and picked up by the cleaning lady—
if you could talk!

Her wrinkled hands unfold you,
hold you up to the light,
trying to decipher in your creases
the historic chicken scratch
that will make her native country burn.

Claudia Serea was born in Romania and moved to the U.S. in 1995. Her poems and translations are published in literary journals such as Oberon, The Comstock Review, Harpur Palate, Respiro,, Exquisite Corpse, and in various Romanian publications. Her first chapbook, Eternity’s Orthography, was chosen as a contest finalist and was published in September 2007 by Finishing Line Press.