olja savičević ivančević /WHEN I FIRST SAW YOUR FACE



Kad si bio dječak sa crnim očima i crnim zubima ljubavi, kad si bila djevojčica sa crnim očima i bijelim zubima ljubavi, kad si bio moj nepreboljeni srednjoškolski dragi s usnama poderanim od poljubaca, kad si bio muškarčina sa sivim očima mornara ljubavi, kad si bila moja draga prijateljica, kad sam bila smrtno zaljubljena u tebe tri nezaboravna zimska dana, kad mi nisi dala prići, kad sam ti ukrala momka ljubavi, kad sam te zavoljela iako si totalni kreten, debeo i ćelav i oženjen, ljubavi, kad sam te ostavila radi totalnog kretena, tebe koji si me najviše volio, ali mi nisi dao disati, znala sam da će nešto među nama biti, da cemo se vjenčati i praviti djecu, ljubavi, i moja kćer sliči na lica mojih ljubavi kad sam ih vidjela prvi put i zauvijek.

When I First Saw Your Face

When you were a boy with black eyes and black teeth of love, when you were a girl with black eyes and white teeth of love, when you were my high school heartbreak with lips torn from kissing, when you were a strapping, grey-eyed mariner of love, when you were my dear homegirl, when I was deadly in love with you for three unforgettable winter days, when you didn’t let me come close, when I stole your boyfriend of love, when I started to love you even though you are a moron, fat and bald and married, love, when I left you for an absolute moron, left you who loved me most but wouldn’t let me breathe, I knew there would be something between us, that we’d get married and make children, love, and now my daughter resembles the faces of my loves when I saw them first and forever.


Olja Savičević Ivančević is a Croatian author whose work has been translated into German, Czech, Italian, Spanish, French, Macedonian, Polish, Ukranian, Lithuanian, and Zulu, among other languages. Her collections of poetry include: It Will Be Tremendous When I Grow Up (1988); Eternal Kids (1993); Female Manuscripts (1999); Puzzlerojc (2005); House Rules (2007), winner of the prestigious Croatian award Kiklop; and Mamasafari (2012). Her collection of short stories, To Make A Dog Laugh (2006), and her novel, Adios, Cowboy (2010), won several Croatian literary awards. Adios, Cowboy came out in English by McSweeney’s in February 2016. 

Andrea Jurjević is a native of Croatia. Her poetry collection Small Crimes won the 2015 Philip Levine Prize (Anhinga Press, 2017). Her poems appear in journals such as Epoch, TriQuarterly, Raleigh Review, The Missouri Review, and her translations of contemporary Croatian poetry in Gulf Coast, Lunch Ticket, and Drunken Boat. She is the recipient of the 2013 Robinson Jeffers Tor Prize, the 2015 RHINO Translation Prize, and a Tennessee Williams Scholarship in Poetry from the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. She teaches English at Georgia State University where she graduated from the MFA Program in Creative Writing.