from a cycle of poems for the magazine Vijenac

song of the saint

in the meadow above grandma's house
as a child a snake bit me
and it promptly died
i ran into the house
no one was there, i just
heard from the humanoid butterfly
agnus dei!
how beloved am i
before the first mountains and the first strawberries
embraced, softly strung up
invented before the invention of wheat and salt
how fully i belonged to the first things
not even the world's stupid pan on top of the head
no sob no ear swollen as a pie
can peel me now
like a potato skin and toss me
into the roman-public mud
while i dance and skip in front of grandma
who's back from the store
his head's inside me like a lantern
and his blood in my throat like vanilla
even before the world began my hair was growing
and today i have long hair
i comb with a red-hot comb
every day i cry over the open
mirror in my hand
those who haven't met
the god of israel
comb their hair in panic
to the wrong side

song of the homeless

there're many sparrows

they fall on the town like snow off god

and only a few silken bread crusts on the sidewalks

when you want them in your hand

hot chestnuts fly too high above dark

zagreb, black town

of grey hair and neon ads, at its command

parks multiply, and quick lapsing shadows,

dappled balls and strollers, some faces

shed leaves and rusty brown wallet clasps

the banks spin on their axes

merry rows of kisses pass me by

the murmur of hugs

the lidias dapple and the ivanas nest in warm slippers

tv antennas sprout atop buildings like enameled teeth

red lamps come on

too bad, i no longer follow the graceful motion of branches

the stellar night sea thins out

those yellow shooting stars fat with salt

i say

one just mustn't go to bed riddled with frostbite

should set a fire along the body's edges

pour oneself an alcoholic star,

fall headlong into the night and say:

good knife

Ekleksographia #2

July, 2009


Dorta Jagić

translated by Ana Božičević

Dorta Jagić was born in Sinj, Croatia in 1974. She graduated from the Jesuit Philosophy University in Zagreb with a degree in philosophy and religious culture. The recipient of a number of literary awards, she writes short stories, theatre criticism, short film scripts, and is the author of four books of poetry, most recently Kvadratura duge (The Quadrature of the Rainbow).

Ana Božičević's first book, Stars of the Night Commute, is forthcoming from Tarpaulin Sky Press. Visit her at