Milena Markovic – puh puh — translated by Steven Teref & Maja Teref

a vile hag hit me up for change
I gave her nothing
she said something
cursed me
I spit to ward it off
I passed a morgue
a hospital
and another
and entered a third
there in the hallway a man without legs
was eating peanuts
and listening to the radio.

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.