The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Jana Putrle Srdić’s “Anything Could Happen”

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Vanishings

Translated by Barbara Jursa

Half a year after your death
I called home,
no one answered the phone and
suddenly I was surprised by your voice
on the answering machine.

As if the cactuses from the window shelf
had circled my bed in the morning.

As you spoke from that cube
of pink jelly

your voice
was both familiar and strange,
unusually determined like the voice
of a thirty-year-old who is never
at home and needs an answering machine

because he just came back from playing handball,
and is hurrying to go target shooting.
Just like all shooters on their way
to the range, he knows that he must stare
through the window of the bus
at the same spot, continuously,
the moon in the afternoon sky,

so in front of the target
his heart begins to beat with the black circles
until he joins them with his pulse on a dot
and pulls the trigger.

The familiar voice
of a thirty-year-old who is now on
a honeymoon to Venice with the Glen Miller casette
in the car. A women’s hat with a wide brim.
His light summer trousers (Gatsby style)
slip over his knees when he jumps up
two stairs at a time.
Stinky canals, damp walls,
pigeons, he says to her, everywhere pigeons,
at the same time as his cigarette, he leisurely
lights the smiles on negatives.

I pass by this tall slender man
in a light summer shirt who does not recognize me,
I do not exist.

I am thinking — when we erase the tape
and your voice in my head
becomes a blur I will be
a bit more porous,
my vanishing
will begin.

This selection comes from Jana Putrle Srdić’s book Anything Could Happen, translated by Barbara Jursa and available from A Midsummer Night’s Press. Purchase your copy here!

Jana Putrle Srdić (1975, Ljubljana) is a poet, art film reviewer, and translator of poetry who lives in Ljubljana, where she works as a visual art producer. She has published three collections of poems to date, and also translates poetry from English, Russian, and Serbian, including collections by Robert Hass, Sapphire, Ana Ristović, and other authors.

Leslie LaChance edits Mixitini Matrix: A Journal of Creative Collaboration, has curated The Wardrobe for Sundress Publications and written poetry reviews for Stirring: A Literary Collection. Her poems have appeared in literary journals, and her chapbook, How She Got That Way, was published in the quartet volume Mend & Hone by Toadlily Press in 2013. She teaches literature and writing at Volunteer State Community College in Tennessee, and if she is not teaching, writing, or editing, she has probably just gone to make some more espresso.

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