First Person Plural

by Dorta Jagić

First Person Plural

a girl with her face always buried in

a book inscribes into the bones of paper:


I’m still young, evening solitude,

desire, mirror and brush, that’s nothing.

Just a night hypnosis, the rattling bones of serpent legs which don’t exist yet lure me

to fall mercilessly into my bed

like under the wheels of a rushing car or

into a deadly wave following Sylvia Plath.

to lie down and never rise again!


That’s nothing, however, just a singular.


when I sledge, after all, down all the seven cases

into the abyss lined with potbellied buddhist mirrors

whose inertia and emptiness I hate

notorious elegies are sung by the spectators

about the hermitess within her sick house walls

they sound like the old women’s broken canes voting

so close to the clattering teeth of giant Garbo who barely walks

like her words, “I want to be alone!”

she’s drumming her silver cane handle, this woman

who would after a few decades still

respond to her maiden name, something between Alma,

Irena, Vesna, Ivana, Zrinka, Jana...

those tiny old women passing in their sleep in some

soiled bathtub in the middle of the deserts of Gospić, Knin

deserts of Arizona and Pašman

look, look

a naked woman in ice cold water, the cold bathtub inside her

and desolate lands in dingoes


a photograph coming into existence on the wardrobe needs to be torn

at a junction with ten broken traffic lights


they lie in their bathtubs, overaged beauties choked with the green

umbilical cord of their unborn girls


Nothing to anyone, just the singular.


when the ice-cold wind blows through a sunday

those odd old women with their oblong first person singular

I sometimes meet in the streets, hobbling in their doc martens

their young green eyes and faces bleed through capillaries and the strands of their gray hair fall to the sidewalk

due to the poisonous acid in the mouth of this wretched city

as a symptom of the fate of those who entered the deep well without windows

well without balconies and vistas

well dug into the fiery black ground

under the Mariana trench

filled with motionless drilled-out bodies

of lonely old women

who might have wanted to bite their duality until it bleeds,

into the shape of cross,

into the clay casting of love, to seep into the bowels of love,

into the arteries, adding antibodies to their precious blood which flows

for years in the artificial sap from the heart of the first bull singular,

as their book says:

yet it is not, yet they are not

yet it is not

Translated by Miloš Đuđević and Damir Šodan