Poems by Ana Brnardić
It is exactly 18:00 hours in Minneapolis.
In the suspects waiting room I sit next to a plump black lady.
She tried to smuggle "food, snakes and insects" into the USA.
I am, on the other hand, a poor bride hunting for a husband.
Mr Kai peers down at me.
He opens my bag brimming with dowry.
A white manuscript sticks out suspiciously.
He wants to know why I have 200 pages typed in some strange language.
That is a fascinating reconstruction of the life
of our Lord the Saviour - I say to myself.
I shiver and perspire.
I accept the role of a terrorist-bride.
An hour later someone unlocks the door.
Suddenly everything smells of palm oil.
My feet sink into the airport carpet.
I discard the iron prosthesis of my homeland
as I slide into a pink mercy.
© translated by Damir and Majda Šodan
My Father’s First Shoes
At the bottom of the wardrobe – actually below the ground – next to the 'roots'
Of a beech that will yet become a wardrobe
There they are – my father’s shoes.
Black, worn-out, made of thin leather, two dry plums
Wherein father’s little twigs twitch, his cracking ankles.
Those were his first shoes that I can remember.
Naturally, not his first pair of shoes ever.
He never took them off, they were almost grown into his skin,
So alive, fruitlike, mineral. Designed for summer and winter.
It never even crossed his mind to replace them with new ones.
A family of cockroaches – among other – lived in the wardrobe, a squadron 'of ants'
And plant lice. Those shoes were like Noa’s arcs with little domestic 'parasites'
Carrying them from one day into another.
One day Mother grabbed those shoes by their very delicate “ears”
And threw them outside.
But father did not object, on the contrary he bought a new pair of ordinary 'men’s shoes'.
The black, first shoes with pulled up “ears”, they went to the woods
With no sense of defeat. Just as Father had announced years ago: I had 'enough of everything', I will go to the woods.
They became earth, a little tree, maybe even a bush with bitter fruits.
Those shoes wherein Father’s daughters grew up
Along with many other unbridled sentences.
© translated by Damir Šodan
About the poet
Ana Brnardić was born in Zagreb in 1980. She holds an M.A. in Comparative Literature and Croatian Language and Literature (University of Zagreb) and an M.A. in music (violin; Music Academy in Zagreb). She has published five collections of poems: Pisaljka nekog mudraca (Some Sage’s Pencil, 1998 – The Goran Award for Young Poets and The Slavić Award by Croatian Writers' Association for the best debut poetry collection in 1999), Valcer zmija (Waltzing Snakes, 2005 – The Kvirin Award for young poets), Postanak ptica (The Genesis of Birds, 2009Swedish edition Fåglarnas tillblivelse, Rámus förlag, Malmö, Sweden, 2016, trans. into Swedish by Djordje Zarkovic), Hotel cu muzicieni (selected poems in Romanian, Bucharest, Romania, 2009, trans. into Romanian by Dumitru M. Ion) and Uzbrdo (Uphill, 2015).