A Halloween Spooktacular Story of Misadventure

Breaking a Leg in Macedonia – a Haiku by a Seasoned Traveler

By Kristen Gill


Why not break a leg
while traveling the Balkans?
I did, and then some

Bleak hospital is
something out of the ‘50s
or, maybe older

Stray dogs roam outside
while chickens run through the yard
i hop in wheelchair

And pass the smokers
hovering outside the door
to get in long line

So many people
waiting for socialized care
while I pay cash NOW

Doctor Dragon asks,
“Does this hurt?” “Hell, yes!” I said.
“You get X-ray now.”

Lie on cold steel bench,
no lead apron for safety
watch as rays loom close

Unrolling the film,
he said with a smile “It broke.”
“You go get cast now.”


Men talk urgently
in a language i do not
understand. Help me!

Jazz on radio
dirty knife lies next to me
I cannot watch this

Papier-mâché wrap
goes all the way past my knees
Did not expect this!

Coptic church outside
I go in and light candles
prayers might help me now

Back to quaint hotel
where sweet proprietress gives
me dog for healing

Four border crossings
plus fifteen flight hours back home
and I am a wreck

Six more months in cast
then I will soon be able
to travel again

Note from author: The funny thing about this story is that for the five days previous to breaking my leg I had been doing all sorts of adventurous activities such as rock climbing, hiking the second tallest peak in the Balkans, kayaking, spelunking, and more. But how did I break it? By running in my flip flops to get into the final group photo on the trip. DOH!

Click here to read the original article and contest sponsored by CheapOair.

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