TE21 Serbian Moments

Ana Ristović

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Beware, Poet!

Renovating my apartment, I decide to purge my library but toss only a catalog from 1985 and a few books of poetry. In their wake, the bookshelves heave like consumptive lungs, a wasp nest pasted to Dostoyevsky like a meta-punishment. At night, from your name Osip M., a noose reaches for my neck my head lolls: all my phone numbers are in you.

On World Poetry Day, I dread bumping into a poet at the supermarket.

Bread will molder in my hands. Salt will turn Biblical. At the butcher counter, every slab of meat: my body. And every bone, a quotation about Adam’s Rib. In the aisles with fermented anacreontics in wine bottles, I’ll survive only if I’m already drunk. From a sack of potatoes, Seamus Heaney will peek out: if I take him home, I’d yearn to be a sweet sheep in Irish fields. I can only buy unsung ketchup, dog food (that at least hasn’t been preserved in verse),

or toilet paper: a mythology of love has yet to remodel the washroom; No one has compared sadness to a neglected bidet.



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