Ana Brnardić







– poems selected from the collection
Postanak ptica (The Origin of Birds), 2009





High above pages of the sky rustle
Down below a customs officer wants your fingerprint
The stamp of your family-tree
On your tourist visa application.

The yellow Balkan moon shines across my face.
I forgot to turn it off as we flew over the ocean.

The family next to me has more experience.
They hid their sad pentatonic up their sleeve:
Showering the official at the counter
With a healthy dose of Californian smiles.

Behind the barricade, cheerful old people
with candy-floss haircuts
extend their arms to take me to heaven.






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.




Thoughts recline on objects –
the heavy ones lay on oaks, the light ones descend onto lime-tree leaves –
others clatter like a typewriter underneath
the bark

Lovers appreciate this way
of life where termites disregard the bumps
of notorious recipes of love

feeling iron letters
underneath the temples of loved ones
catching the last of the hurried commas
running like ants out of mouths –
love is both cold and warm

lazy in the Sun
written out in routine handwriting
across utterly disinterested leaves




Crickets chirp all through the night.
The sky gently envelops the earth.
God is intimate and welcomes his guests
by patting them on the shoulder.

Fireflies shine like 120 Watt light bulbs.

From Julia’s balcony I observe the animals.
People do not live here.
Not in those houses or high-rises.
They sleep in the logos of their companies
as they descend from stress into the subterranean
picking fruits that hang from the telegraph lines
– upside down.



translated from Croatian into English
by Damir and Majda Šodan












Ana Brnardić was born in Zagreb in 1980. She holds a M.A. in Comparative Literature and Croatian Language and Literature (University of Zagreb) and a B.A. in music (violin; Music Academy in Zagreb).

She has published three books of poetry that received several prestigious Croatian awards for poetry: Pisaljka nekog mudraca (The Pen of a Sage, 1998. – Goran Award for young poets; Slavić Award for poetry debut), Valcer zmija (The Snake Waltz, 2005. – Kvirin Award for young poets) and Postanak ptica (The Creation of Birds, 2009). A collection of poems from all three books was translated into Romanian language and published in Romania under a title Hotel cu muzicieni (2009). She has participated in several international poetry festivals (Zagreb/Croatia, Curtea de Arges/Romania, Priština/Kosovo, Amsterdam/Netherlands, Ancona/Italy etc.) and her poems are translated into English, German, Italian, Spanish, Catalan, Albanian, Romanian, Polish language and published in foreign magazines and books. Her poems are published in several poetry anthologies (Croatian, Bosnian, Serbian, Ukrainian, Kosovo/Albanian, Italian and Polish). She has also collaborated with other artists in multimedia projects (Prvi se pamte/The first is to be Remembered – documentary film, Croatian National Television, 1998; the book The Sofa Project with Austrian performer/artist Josef Trattner, 2009; poem/song Tajna/The Secret with Croatian musician and songwriter Nina Romić, CD Ritam&Rif /Poetry Magazine, 2010).

Since April 2011 she is working as a General Secretary of Croatian Writers Society.

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