by Blanka Pillár
I forgive him for the little lies. The little fibs that slip away and the broken promises that go unkept. He always tells the same lies, and sometimes I believe him, because the story paints itself like a vivid oil portrait; first the figures are painted, then the background, then the corners, edges, contours, and finally it becomes as if it were a real scene on the canvas of life, but only the immensity of human imagination has made believable what could never be real. It tells me what I most desire, and so I reach for it with all my heart, stretching out the arms of my soul to preserve all that its lips say, and to hold it within me for eternity. I love him with all my heart, but when my reality is keen-eyed, it sometimes smells like the scratch of jagged-edged infidelities in the dawning dawn or the wistful night. The cold realisation slips into bed beside me, or touches me as I walk.
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by Jasna Dimitrijević (translated from Serbian by John K. Cox)
The rain woke me up. It intervened in my dream, and at first I didn’t know where in the world I was. Then I was swimming in the vastness of the Pacific Ocean. I know it was the Pacific, because I recognized it from shows on TV. I swam through turquoise and crystal. That’s what they say in the travel pieces, turquoise and crystal. From my hips hang decorative beads attached to my bathing suit. I remember it from photographs. My first bathing suit, a kid’s one. The clouds burst as I fix the knot in my hair. Heavy drops plop onto my scalp and my outstretched hands. They grow thicker and heavier until water covers the entire world. It envelops me like an endless hug, an impenetrable womb. I kick my legs around so that I can swim vertically, and at that point I wake up. That was a shame. I would like to learn how to swim. But I was certain, at least, that the ocean wasn’t the answer.
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by Marija Rakić Mimica (translated by Tanja Radmilo)
Today I’m going to cheat on my husband. I’m going to make love to a man that I’m not allowed to love. I’ll meet the morning after blinded by my act, which I’ll carry with me for a long time; after showering I’ll recognize his smell, that will remind me of us, I’ll carry collected guilt and bitterness as I walk down the street and, finally, I’ll bring them into my apartment with me.
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