Andrea Jurjević

ORAL CULTURE


Sticky with leftover cherry pie, the spoon falls from the stern of your bed, and in that                 microtonal moment, the room tenuous, 

            all our desire for verticality held in its silver eye: 

the intoxicating ministry of dusk, the anchor of daylight lifting, sheets white like a                       freshly crushed pill,

the vortex of the body and the clap of the coral tongue, the ripple and the yielding                     and the pedal steel moan. 

And the shiver. The shiver of the engine before it cuts out. The gasoline taste of the                 spill. The sweet brine  

filling the silver eye. 


NOCTURNE WITH BURNING MORANA

After Martin Espada


This is the year the walls are filled with dull scratching. Rooms drafty.  

At night a rat shits on the couch. Droppings greasy like nougat. 

This is the year you sweep bones off your plate, and pack up, whistling. The boys come home from school, find you gone. 

The year language buckled. 

This is the year of prosthetic empathy. 

The year Mariposa de la muerte flies in and lands on the dictionary: What’s the word for the torn lip of the horizon twitching under the yellow fist of the sun?

This is the year of vacuuming the mattress. 

Of suffering pests. 

Of Morana’s bright ministry. 

The year after which the cuckoo sings.  After which from scratch. 


ANDREA JURJEVIĆ grew up in Rijeka, Croatia, in the former Yugoslavia, before immigrating to the United States. Her debut poetry collection, Small Crimes, won the 2015 Philip Levine Poetry Prize, and her book-length translations from Croatian include Mamasafari (Diálogos Press, 2018) and Dead Letter Office (The Word Works, 2020).


Read more by Andrea Jurjević:

Poem in the Southeast Review
Poem in The Believer
Three poems in Willow Springs Magazine


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