No. 2 - Year 14 - 06/2024
10.15291/sic/2.14
Literary Translation

The House on the Island

DOI: 10.15291/sic/2.14.lt.2

The Letter

my Mother’s Mother
always told her
the world was a dangerous place

it began in the sea
between their Island
and the shore where swimmers were processed
when the monsters that were there when that world had begun
pulled them by the fin
processed from the missing Father
who also thought he could swim

my Mother answered her Mother
that she wasn’t afraid
of the sea monsters
or the factories with tall chimneys

but only of what would happen to the moles
when neither the Island nor the shore
had a single tree left

the world is a dangerous place
as it takes a twenty-year-old tree
to make a single sheet of paper
that can give only two obituaries

a tree less leaves us without
two woodpeckers
twenty pounds of useful insects
and the initials of a great love

my Mother’s Mother
always told her
the dangerous world could kill her
even before her time came
and that a long life meant
going to the store every day
then sleeping with the Sun’s at its highest

my Mother left a note to her Mother
before she left
saying she didn’t have to live long
but that she would try anyway
the whole world was not such a dangerous place

Germination

on the first warm weekend in the Big City
that one ceramic jar
she had brought with her
seemed rather empty

it would be a good place
to start an unusual life
she thought with a box of assorted seeds
on her knees

I bear the image of my Father
in all his history

the cause
the reason
the plot
and the farewell

something will have to end me anyway
when I live out my years
and turn into peace

the one who would become my Mother
closed her eyes tightly and took the first seed
under her fingers

Note About Contributor(s)

Silba Ljutak

Silba Ljutak is a contemporary Croatian poet born in Zagreb in 1999. Her work has been published in Croatian literary journals Poezija, Kolo, and The Split Mind, as well as on various literary websites such as Astronaut, Booke.hr, Strane, Kritična masa, and others. A selection of her poems has been included in the edited anthology Rukopisi, a collection of poetry and short fiction by young authors from the former Yugoslavia countries. Her manuscript Normalna raspodjela (Common Distribution) received the jury’s praise at the 58th Goran’s Spring, while her manuscript Kuća na otoku (The House on the Island) received the Goran Prize for Young Poets in 2024. She has participated at the literary event Učitavanje and at festivals Rukopisi and Vrazova Ljubica. A selection of Ljutak’s poems has been translated into Spanish and published in the electronic magazine Revista Kametsa.

Anja Glavinić

Anja Glavinić is currently a student of Literary Translation at the University of Zadar, Croatia. Her translations have appeared in [sic] – a Journal of Literature, Culture and Literary Translation, Five Points, and Tema. She has participated in an international translation project organized by the European Federation of Associations and Centres of Irish Studies (EFACIS), publishing online the translation of Anne Enright's short story Time into Croatian. Anja is the founder and one of three organizers of the Zadar-based literary festival LITaf which brings together renowned Croatian prose writers, poets, and translators.