| Diwan Special issue|

Jozefina Dautbegović

Born in 1948 in Šušnjari (B&H), lives in Zagreb (Croatia).


It’s not that emptiness when you say empty and you know there’s nothing inside an empty room an empty bed empty shelves empty space in the wardrobe bare walls and it’s easy to conclude that pictures used to be there because regular white squares and rectangles still hang on the walls.

Actually empty places could be enumerated for a long time in such situations

With me it’s different when you leave all the space is still full of you only in the region of the stomach it is completely empty and in that emptiness fear hangs also neatly arranged in white squares and rectangles but with sharp edges like broken crystal.


Wherever I go I carry it with me like a hereditary illness it has remained in my bones in my bone marrow It’s winter for me in the summer on Hvar Korčula or in Opatija wherever inside me it goes on forever it has taken root Who knows in which part of me all its snows lie that have while I was not around like in folk tales of cursed lands been falling for seven long years and have become glaciers Since then the seasons change for me as if in a film only before my eyes and inside me the winter goes on I must have taken along in my bones when I was leaving the last Bosnian snows without knowing that I was taking them along forever

I say in my bones but who knows where they have hidden perhaps they abide in my grey brain matter and collapse unexpectedly just when I relax at +30 C and enjoy myself like a lizard on a drystone wall Out of the blue I feel a draft from somewhere the icy wind pulls on the edge of my dress I recognise him he smells of Bosnian snows but just in every case he waves with palm branches before my nose to convince me

Although as a rule I don’t eat ice-cream every time when at the bottom of the bowl with fruit salad I touch frozen fruit with my spoon My Bosnian winter finds me in the middle of the summer in the narrow streets of coastline towns it crawls out of some basement portal or from behind dark altars in Romanesque churches

Because of it I am the only one wearing woollen vests in the summer and when I go into the sea I feel like pulling on socks every time

Because of it you tell me how cold you are let me warm your hands.

Translated by Ulvija Tanović


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