A. had decided to wear a white shirt, although
black befits a funeral, they say,
for you cannot be wistful in white, yet
A. knew how to weep in a white shirt.
Through the droplets of fog on the pane, she
gazed at a line of trees, all the pines lined up except
for one. A. tried to wipe away the drops with her white
sleeve, but the pine was no longer there.
October morning, a funeral like any other:
wraiths in black robes come forth
with words on their lips, with
tongues numb like A.’s hand when
she made to wipe away the droplets of fog.
The wayward pine is nowhere in sight and
the shirt is soaked
in October air that is not for the lungs.
A. made to scream, but fell silent for fear
of waking herself before they lowered the coffin.




In one of those rooms with fewer
than four walls, not one window, and more than one
book that I touch with furrowed finger pads,
I remember the taste of strawberries late in August
and the sweetness corroding away what’s left of
the sensation of bitterness on my tongue
in which I do not speak, for words are heavier than air in the room
with fewer than four walls and more than one book
unread in a tongue which doesn’t exist.
I touch my broken lung, for
it’s hard to breathe in the room with pictures of incommodiousness and music
dazzling like drops of sweat as cold as the first rain fallen
in a fading August. Then,
Clack-click, clack-click, clack-click, clack-click,
decrescendo of steps I feel
more and more intensely like the rough covers of the
book on the pads of my bony fingers that someone had
smelt before the click-clack, click-clack. Sips of saturation
seep into the spleen where steps amass, click-clack, click-clack…


Neđla Ćemanović Porča

Translated from Bosnian by Mirza Purić. Originally published in H.O.W Journal

Fotografija: Henry Burrows