Milena Markovic – a child’s concept — translated by Steven Teref & Maja Teref

so I place on an end table
a music box
with drawers for small jewelry
a naked Barbie
rides a bull souvenir
and a very fragile bullfighter
reclines against an ashtray
of rock
a rock that once covered oysters
the end table is rickety
the music box broken
and the bull’s tail broken off
I break Barbie’s legs
and spit into the ashtray.

Milena Marković (b. 1974) is an award-winning Serbian poet, playwright, and screenwriter. She has published seven poetry collections; her latest collection, Deca [Children], is a book-length poem published in 2021. Her plays have been staged across Europe and in the United States. She has also written screenplays for film and TV, such as Patria, winner for Best Screenplay at the FEST International Film Festival.

Steven and Maja Teref’s translations include Ana Ristović’s Directions for Use, shortlisted for the National Book Critics Circle Award, Best Translated Book Award, and the National Translation Award, and Novica Tadić’s Assembly. Their translations have appeared in The New Yorker, Brooklyn Rail, Vestiges, and Columbia Journal. Steven is a co-editor with Aleksandar Bošković of Zenithism (1921–1927): A Yugoslav Avant-Garde Anthology, forthcoming from Academic Studies Press in 2022. Maja teaches English at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools.