Milena Markovic – Brigitte Bardot — translated by Steven Teref & Maja Teref

twenty years ago, all my uncles
had long hair
long moustaches
walked barefoot
on sharp rocks
one of them croaked
on account of his liver
another one from his heart
and the ones still around
are bald
still have moustaches
sunken cheeks
they cough on their rakija
they catch carp on the lake
the best freshwater fish
they’re very large but not fatty 
my uncles whack them on a rock
in front of the house
and descale them while they are
still moving
are they in pain I ask
don’t give a shit
one uncle gives me a hammer
to finish them off
I can’t
I think in the moment
I’ll stop eating anything
with eyes
half an hour later
I’m eating and eating
asking for more.

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.