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Željana Vukanac, Poetry


Damaged bodies carry the imprints
of the lives of strangers, intruders, enemies
through the fog of summer days.
Dark winds, volcanic black smokes loom over them,
they howl in the calmest of nights;
the voices break the runaway stars into sharp pieces
they blast off into the sky and
cut right through somebody else’s dream;
they give their voices to unburden themselves,
little by little,
they break a curve and become lighter for 100 whirling grams.
The damaged ones should be listened to
when they talk about the weakness of the world,
poor choices of city tenders;
when they are screaming their heads off at colleagues;
they just cry for help,
and when they blame someone
they only blame themselves,
their own helpless words and weak knees.
Damaged bodies need others
to fill the dents and daub the scars;
we should let them, give them a piece of ourselves
to close up their cracks.


Your tied up hair reminds me of a bundle of brushwood
entwined with golden leaves of grass
that froze your face and
saved it from malicious glares and ruthless words
your smile is a shelter for everything hidden in you
If the road scattered into thin air
irreversibly and in tiny pieces
I would find a set of rails stretched out in between us
and crawl hung upside down
leaving a slithery trail
of everything you’ve taught me not to be
Transient are
our words, our hands, our backs and beautiful heads
the winds shall carry us away
to make room for other sprouts
so let’s set our palms free
and share love.

Cherry blossom inhabiting a dragon

we laugh our fiery veins out
we are fearless
our woollen fiends are trapped inside a radiator
we are merciless
we undress them
put floral masks on their faces
the metal we hit echoes towards the waves
the clouds shall wash out their earthy trails
the ash shall clear away our roads to the stratosphere
one pistil is enough to take in all that we have
emptiness is empty in all languages
our food is just nothingness
until we please our spirits
until our eyes adjust to unfamiliar lights
we cut along the edges thinking it helps
they will stone our cheeks and call it a kiss
they will be thunderous as we voicelessly gesticulate
weakened and wrong we shall wave at them
giving primacy to verbs instead of ourselves
you can ask us for anything
we create our own torment
it does not concern the faces of strangers
let us remind ourselves
we are the flames that will set the future free
earth’s cores are burning within us
let us remember
do not let the household spirits take us with them
let us remember
or else the waves shall consider us theirs
the fire is our guide
let us remember
call ourselves by our names
let us remember
so as not to forget how we got them

Željana Vukanac was born in 1990 in Zadar. She has lived in Žegar, Obrovac, Obilić, and Belgrade where she graduated from the 5th Belgrade Grammar School, and finished her undergraduate studies and postgraduate studies of Serbian literature at the Faculty of Philology at the University of Belgrade.

She is a participant of conferences and projects such as “Days of Interactive Education ReCreating Tesla – Practices which forge a genius”, “Hand and voice” (workshops and presentations of the work of poets and adolescents with impaired hearing), Collaboration within the MediaPholigon project, “Poetry on the road – Refugees and Migrants”.

She is a participant in creative writing workshops under the mentoring of the poets Ognjenka Lakicevic and Ivana Milankov. Her work was published in blogs (“Anonymous poets”), web portals (“Strane”, “Afirmator”, “Astronaut”), collections (“Manuscripts 38”, “In the Labyrinths of Abandoned Demons”). She was awarded first place of the literary competition “Mak Dizdar” for her poem collection “Spaces” within the cultural event “Letter of Bitterness” in Stolac in 2018. The Authoress has two poem collections, “Spaces” and “Name the Wave – Wave”. She lives and works in Belgrade.

Translator, Kruna Petrić is a 28-year-old English teacher living in Belgrade. She has been working with English students of various age for 5 years and translating texts, articles, research papers and text-books relating to business, marketing, entrepreneurship, etc. Her goal is to completely shift to translating literature, be it poetry or (non)fiction. Her English word of choice is curiosity!



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