Poetry: Aftermath by Andrea Jurjević
“Aftermath,” by poet and translator Andrea Jurjević, performs the haunting which is its subject: the fall invades, inevitable. Filled with incredible color and texture, each tercet rolls forward as if of the ocean—as if to swallow our lost and our brave farers of the stars.
Late morning rain punches
the hot pavement. Below
the road hugging the cliff,
a friend’s daughter is pulled
from the sea. I’ll hear about
her death tomorrow, how
her Vespa, as if nowhere else
to go, rammed into the curve
of the guardrail, coiled past
bare rocks, the dappled yellow
spread of thorny brooms.
It’ll rain the entire summer,
burnt, scat-black bits of bike.
And you, my American-night,
a stranger to my spoiled blue
sliver of the world, exhale smoke,
then draw your tongue down
my stomach, like an agile fish
darts in the churning ship wake,
as if we’re more than just citizens
of the Republic of Descent.
As if falling is an option, simple
as choosing a left or right turn,
pouring cream into coffee
or leaving it pure, black.
As if the handful of hours
news takes to travel the ocean night
matter not one bit, not when
there’s a barefoot dream captain
fixing to take me star roving.
Andrea Jurjević is a poet and translator from Rijeka, Croatia. She is the author of Small Crimes, winner of the 2015 Philip Levine Poetry Prize, and translator of Mamasafari (Diálogos, 2018), a collection of prose poems by Croatian author Olja Savičević. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia.