You bolted out of our bed naked, grabbed a suitcase, stuffed it with my shoes, shirts, tags
sticking out like tongues, then picked up that heavy case over your chest--
and for a single unforgiving moment before you threw the case out the back door on the
bare winter soil, you looked like a man lifting his child in play.
By then, in the back of the kitchen drawer, each night the rat tilled through his nest of stray
hair and paper scraps, restless, turning up night breath.
And in a dream—constant like the sinking of Venice, and clear like a fog-cutting sail--
we watched the sun rise over the serrated edge of the pinewoods. In damp moss a door
stood, wall-less, a crying mouth without a face. A barefoot child walked through it,
dusty in a new daylight,
and we listened to the shadow child’s call—first your name, then mine—a terrible yip and
whine, then a slow crooked whimper that backstitched our days.
DANCE OF LILITH, MISSISSIPPI DELTA
I watch her upturned nose, the twitch
of her wolfish mug, wine-wild limbs,
her hair combed with ravens shifting
in flight, and I think of the swift-dark
of nocturnal woods, the earful of river,
its rush, tumble-roll, skim and shiver,
the fall of its heavy skirt. My body
is a hoarse tune, a crackle of branches
trampled underfoot in a bootblack,
four-legged night. The needle scratches
There’s a hellhound on my trail,
a hellhound on my trail, and her hair
sweeps across the knots of her back,
brushes the wide clearing of its saddle,
under a sky that’s no longer a simple black
but coarse and heavy as a salt kettle.
ANDREA JURJEVIĆ, a native of Croatia, is the author of Small Crimes, winner of the 2015 Philip Levine Prize. Her poems, as well as her translations of contemporary Croatian poetry, have appeared in journals such as Epoch, TriQuarterly, Best New Poets, The Missouri Review, Gulf Coast, and elsewhere. She is a recipient of a Robinson Jeffers Tor Prize, a Tennessee Williams Scholarship from the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and a Hambidge Fellowship. Her translation of Mamasafari (and other things) from Croatian will be published by Diálogos in 2018.