Karen Brehmer: On Macedonia

Focus on his lips. 
Focus on his voice. 
It’s easy enough to do; 
so smooth, so rich. 
If someone says ‘kako si’ it means ‘how are you’ he says.  I write it down. 
The response is ‘dobro’. It means ‘good’ or ‘well’. Say it.  
Dovro. I mess it up. 
‘Dobro’. Roll the ‘r’.
Dobro. I roll the ‘r’. 
Look at you! You sound good.
So does he. 
Now, to return the question, say ‘ti kako si’ – it’s like saying ‘and you?’
I write it down. 

He shows up with his lips and his voice. 
His kiss is electric.
I look up Macedonian phrases 
to sprinkle in conversation.
‘You are delicious’ is ‘Ti si vkusen’. 
‘You are strong’ is ‘Ti si jak’. 
I get to tell him what ‘vkusen’ and ‘jak’ mean – 
he can speak it fluently but doesn’t read it.

He occasionally writes to me and asks Kako si?
I always respond dobro even when I am not very dobro.
Ti kako si I ask and he is always dobro
and then we are talking about our days and travel and the future.
Tell me what it’s like there I say of Macedonia.
Beautiful lakes, mountains, fresh air he says. Nothing like it.
Take me to California he says. 
Book the trip now for July.
I know he isn’t serious
but I would if he was.   
I make plans for a visit to Arizona 
Pack the car; let’s go now he says. 
I love the spontaneity. 
Of course he says.

He uses the word cute; mine is sweet
What is Macedonian for ‘cute’? I write.
I don’t know how to write it, I only know how to say it.  
The next time we talk, tell me how to say it.  
Will do!  
But we don’t talk again.

What is Macedonian for ‘He is gone’? 
What is Macedonian for ‘Please come back’?
What is Macedonian for
What is Macedonian for
What is Macedonia