Man Dines in His Father’s Slippers

by Marko Pogacar,
Translated from Croatian
by Andrea Jurjevic

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What used to be the borders now are you.
It was May, deep and flat,
the street gutted with roadwork, the snow
sudden, dry.
To be frank:
I didn’t owe anyone anything.
I stood by the doorposts, the water
frozen by fear soaked my back.
And when I closed my eyes I saw
popcorn rush toward its salt and I knew
some nights the kernels blacken, like droppings.
I entered to face the sickening scene:
not love, stupidity, stupidity is the heart of the world—
and now in those slippers I eat and cry,
only eat and cry in the house.

ČOVJEK VEČERA U PAPUČAMA SVOG OCA

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Što su bile granice sada si ti.
bio je svibanj dubok i ravan
cesta raskopana zbog radova, snijeg
suh i odjednom.
da kažem otvoreno:
nikome nisam dugovao ništa.
stajao sam u dovratku, voda
smrzla od straha močila mi je leđa.
a kad sam sklopio oči vidio sam
kokice jure ka svojoj soli i znao
ponekad noću pocrne, kao brabonjci.
ušao sam da se suočim s mučnom slikom:
ne ljubav, glupost, glupost je srce svijeta—
i sad u tim papučama unutra jedem i plačem,
samo jedem i plačem u kući.


Marko Pogacar was born in 1984 in Split, Yugoslavia. His publications include four poetry collections, four books of essays, and a short story collection. He edited the Young Croatian Lyric anthology (2014). He was a fellow of, among others, Civitella Ranieri, Literarische Colloquium Berlin, Récollets-Paris, Passa Porta, Milo Dor, Brandenburger Tor, Internationales Haus der Autoren Graz, and Krokodil Beograd fellowships. He received Croatian and international praises for poetry, prose, and essays. His texts appeared in more than thirty languages. He resides in Vienna as a freelance author.
Andrea Jurjevic, a native of Croatia, is the author of Small Crimes, winner of the Philip Levine Prize (Anhinga Press, 2017). Her poems, and translations of contemporary Croatian poetry, have been published in journals such as Epoch, TriQuarterly, Best New Poets, The Missouri Review, Gulf Coast, and elsewhere. She is the recipient of the 2013 Robinson Jeffers Tor Prize, the 2015 RHINO Translation Prize, a Tennessee Williams Scholarship in Poetry from the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and a Hambidge Fellowship. You can visit her at her website.

Image Credit: Hobvias Sudoneighm

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