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11 article(s) translated from Serbian

The Death of My Parents in the Village

The funeral meal—all of the relatives and neighbors have come. I don’t know any of them. The death of my parents in the village, it played out long ago in the future. I cannot summon the memory. I cannot cry. After a long and difficult illness, the death of their eight-hour workday                                                        ...

Orkish Cornbread

The first record of Orkish cornbread is found in the journals of the warlord Ur-Agarish. The original document is lost to time, but a saying remains: "He who dodges the cornbread and sours the kraut, then cream his neck!" Obtaining the Ingredients:  The basis of every good cornbread is corny flour. It is harvested by the Giants of the Corned Hills. You will need to give the giants plenty of firewater. When they are wasted, steal the corn. But remember, the cornstalks are so...

Boutique Cinderella

“Boutique Cinderella” had a stuffed pigeon in the window with its beak stuck into a pile of grain on the windowsill, and a female torso wrapped in a silk Dior peignoir; the designer could be read on the label sewn on the hem of the discreetly opened skirt. With its lace insets, the peignoir looked like a wedding gown. There was nothing on it that would make you conclude that it was used clothing, though a cardboard sign in the lower left corner of the display announced,...

The Cover

I’m starting this diary so the days won’t pass without my knowing what I did. I live in the suburbs. I knit, embroider, and crochet. I sell everything I make at the nearby farmers’ market. Other women are there too. We bring stools, little chairs, or whatever we have. We sit down and spread doilies, tablecloths, and blouses in front of us. The needles in our hands fly through the air. Needles, hands, fingers, mouth. Fingers, hands, mouth, needles. Everything is moving,...

The Island

Tonight is the third Christmas. I started counting them two summers and eleven months ago when I came to the island. The previous thousands weighed me down. I’d be able to win out over the numbers—at least I could add or subtract them—but didn’t know what to do with all the winters and falls. Those seasons are always laden with coats and wraps and faces hidden under raised collars, shawls, hoods . . . It is always warm here. The first thing I did when I got here...

Head Weight

In all honesty, Ruben was at a loss to explain what was happening to him. He told his friends and family a story about feeling tired and drained, while he in himself saw a different sort of picture: somebody, who knows who, some huge and powerful being was squeezing him the way the last squirts of toothpaste are squeezed from a toothpaste tube. The crush of those huge fingers, the blunt thumb and the slightly angular index finger, produced so much pain at times in Ruben that, lying in...

Sentimental Education

I went out the back door of the sanatorium. Before me stretched a flat lawn bordered by a tall hedge. The early autumn sun had turned the tops of the linden trees more golden than green. Dressed in identical light robes, the patients standing or sitting on benches resembled blue statues dotted about an open-air exhibit. Nothing moved, like in a movie still. Disrupting this tranquility, I headed across the lawn toward the farthest bench on the left. The patient I wanted to see was always...

The Model

The first thing she did was remove her red shawl. Then she draped her coat on a hanger next to the podium where she would be posing. She slid off her dress; its fabric was colorful. And there she stood, with all her limbs exposed, wearing only a slip. Without even stooping she flung the tiny shoes from her feet and all at once even her lower legs were bare. In one more sure and rapid movement the last little piece of clothing was up and gone, and nothing was left covering her lustrous...

The Robot

No one was surprised by his arrival. There was nothing miraculous about seeing a robot walk in through the door, choose a table, push away chairs, and study the menu. He did all of it as adroitly and matter-of-factly as any other guest would. With his finger he indicated the Wiener schnitzel, and the waiter, not upset in the least, brought it to him. The robot skillfully cut up the meat into rather large pieces (knife in his right hand and fork in the left), poured wine into his glass,...

Learning Cyrillic

1. I leave the church at nine sharp. Outside it is a clear, winter night, the church steps are slippery, the cold air slices my breath. I move slowly; I grab for the frozen shrubbery. Next time, I say to myself, wear high-topped shoes. Then I spot the Indian. He is standing by a round traffic sign. He has on a leather jacket with long fringes, and he is wearing boots decorated with Indian symbols. As I am walking by him, I see his eyes are closed. "Hey," says the Indian, "what's the...

An Austro-Hungarian Guidebook

Novi Sad, Thursday afternoon, April 9, 1987 Energy and resourcefulness. These virtues have excited me lately, sending me into a pathological rapture, duping me into rashness and loss of self-respect. I'm sitting on a smugglers' bus, overcome with the contagious cheerfulness of the other travelers, their impatience as they face an adventure. They are in a realm of chattiness, of conspiratorial mirth. The Vegeta seasoning powder is in our baggage, heavy as cement but promising a...

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