My father's first shoes

by Ana Brnardić


My father's first shoes

At the bottom of the wardrobe – actually below the ground – next to the roots

Of a beech that will yet become a wardrobe 

There they are – my father’s shoes.

Black, worn-out, made of thin leather, two dry plums

Wherein father’s little twigs twitch, his cracking ankles.

Those were his first shoes that I can remember.

Naturally, not his first pair of shoes ever.

He never took them off, they were almost grown into his skin,

So alive, fruitlike, mineral. Designed for summer and winter.

It never even crossed his mind to replace them with new ones.

A family of cockroaches – among other – lived in the wardrobe, a squadron of ants

And plant lice. Those shoes were like Noa’s arcs with little domestic parasites

Carrying them from one day into another.

One day Mother grabbed those shoes by their very delicate “ears”

And threw them outside.

But father did not object, on the contrary he bought a new pair of ordinary men’s shoes. 

The black, first shoes with pulled up “ears”, they went to the woods

With no sense of defeat. Just as Father had announced years ago: I had enough of everything, I will go to the woods.

They became earth, a little tree, maybe even a bush with bitter fruits.

Those shoes wherein Father’s daughters grew up

Along with many other unbridled sentences.

© translated by Damir Šodan

Očeve prve cipele

U dnu ormara, zapravo pod zemljom, pored korijenaka

bukve od koje će ormar tek biti napravljen

nalaze se očeve cipele.

Crne, iznošene, od tanke kože, dvije suhe šljive

u kojima se gibaju očeve grančice, pucketavi članci.

Bile su to prve njegove cipele koje pamtim.

Ne, naravno, njegove prve cipele.

Iz njih se nije izuvao, bile su već srasle uz kožu,

žive, voćaste, mineralne. Za ljeto i zimu.

Ni na kraj pameti da ih zamijeni novima.

U ormaru su još živjeli obitelj žohara, jedna desetina mrava

i biljne uši. Cipele su bile noine arke malim kućnim nametnicima

prenoseći ih iz jednog dana u drugi.

Jednog dana majka dohvati cipele za njihove veoma delikatne uši

i izbaci ih napolje.

Otac se nije protivio nego je nabavio nove, obične muške cipele.

Crne, prve cipele, s navučenim ušima, bez osjećaja poraza

otišle su u šumu. Baš kao što je otac

godinama najavljivao: dosta mi je svega, otići ću u šumu.

Postale su zemlja, drvce, možda čak i grm s gorkim plodovima.

Cipele u kojima su rasle očeve kćeri

i mnoge druge pustopašne rečenice.

© Ana Brnardić