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 that won a writing contest sponsored by CheapOair.

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