Marija Dragnić

Marija Dragnić (Montenegro, 1990) studied English Language and Literature in Podgorica and Västerås (Sweden), and graduated at the Faculty of Philology, University of Belgrade, where she also finished her master academic studies and enrolled in a PhD programme in Language, Literature and Culture. She published the poetry collection The Other Shore(Belgrade: Orion art, 2013) and the conceptual book of poetry Confabulations (Bijelo Polje: Ratković’s Poetry Evenings, 2019; Belgrade: PPM Enclave, 2019). Her poems are published in various literary periodicals across the ex-YU region, as well as in the culture supplement of Politika. Some of her poems are translated into Russian and Macedonian. Dragnić is the recipient of the second prize for poetry in the regional literary competition Ulaznica 2016 and the first prize in the regional competition of Ratković’s Poetry Evenings 2018. In 2019. Dragnić won the first prize in the literary competition PAF – POETRY  for best unpublished poems in Montenegro. She is an editor at the publishing house PPM Enclave and the online poetry magazine Enclave.





my grandmother hid sweets

from herself, so there would be more for us. and nobody couldfind them afterwards.


I looked trough my light fingers at my lover’s dark back

as he left the beach

and I remained in the shade of a willow’s crown

allowing the sun to overhang us.


through my light fingers I looked at how the dark back of someone else’s poetry twisted around a pole

in a night club

to those who had clear intentions.

I would leave generous tips and always go homealone.


I didn’t look through my light fingers when they crackled

as they scampered amongst the trees that grew above thekeyboard.

they ran under the same-height treetops, went deep into thewoods.

and nobody could find them afterwards.



I loved my grandfather the most because he was agood man

that rarely spoke, and a snake bit him

on the same finger three times.


my poetry’s light fingers

shattered my poetry’s dark fingers. the fight took place ina lake.

the dark ended up floating on the surface. the light swam away  triumphantly,

got out on the other side of the shore. I recorder everything.


My lover’s dark fingers and my light fingers

go down into the lake, past a warning sign.



they float above the depths with uncertainty.


in between the dark and light fingers a snake passes.


the dark smile.

the light go out of the water clumsily, hiding their nudity

from random passers-by.


never again have they repeated the ritual. nonetheless, they keep returning

to the lake – to resist.


good film, poetic images.

in the big hall, at the premiere as many as three seats

were occupied.



my grandfather once killed a viper that crossed my path.


he wedged a match in its open jaws

and put a cigarette in its mouth.

the snake frantically turned in circles, until its head burst.


the truth is

that’s the only thing

I remember him by today.


my poetry’s dark fingers

broke my poetry’s light fingers. it all happened in a humid field from which a greenish mist rose.

the scent of burning came out of somewhere. I recorded the entire event.


my lover’s dark fingers land on my bottom

as I put a snake under our bed.


we fight between the white sheets. at one point,

my head hangs down the edge of the bed, and that increases thechances

of a final surrender.


my light fingers pull the dark hair from my lover’s nape of the neck, he sticks his dark thumb

in between my red lips.

one of us gets bitten by the snake.


the video recording looks like a porn film starring an over-aroused actress.

it became a real hit.

they guest-starred at every festival, won all local awards.

the chick was such a success.



this is the third note on my grandfatherwhom I knew the least.


mom is surprised how I still don’t see thecorrelation

between these two facts.


the dark fingers of someone else’s poetry stumble in front of the dark fingers of my poetry which unexpectedly turns into a comedy play.

a startled flock of smiles lands

on the faces of the leading actors and audience.


my lover’s dark fingers

watch out for my light fingers. my light fingers getdarker

due to, let’s say, tobacco smoke. the leading actress putson a mask of a lovely boy. the lights go out.


my poetry’s dark fingers intertwine with my poetry’s lightfingers.

if the dark fingers defeated the light, they wouldn’t stretchan inch beyond the ends of their nails. cameras flash

from the strategic points in the audience, they light up only thecostumes

and the scenery silhouettes.


my lover’s dark fingers grab my now darker fingers in the low start position. the lights comeon.

the leading actor is on the stage alone.

the leading actress is suddenly in the audience, and is also surprisedby that.


my lover’s dark fingers

and my poetry’s light fingers in a devil’s dance.

heart is the mother of repetition, they shout from thestrategic points.



when I was born

my grandmother dressed up, in black,

to greet her granddaughter as it befitted the occasion.


in after years she would prepare ice cream for lunch,

during every summer break.

she would take us to the fishpond where we learnt to dive

head first.


I once tried to

stay under the water

and turn into a mermaid. It was a little confined, there in the fishpond,

so I surfaced,

but only after the scales had formed.


grandmother didn’t get scared when I stayed at thebottom

of the pool for so long,

nor did she notice any changes on my skin.


she smiled and said

look at you, diving like a snake, granny’s darling.


I loved my grandmother. she was an exceptionally intelligent woman,

she knew how to steer clear of the heart of things.


were it not for my poetry’s light fingers

I would cut off each of my poetry’s dark fingers

and lick the fingers of another’s poetry, especially the light.


if I had only dark fingers,

it would be obvious they have nothing with my lover’s dark fingers.

the way it is now, believe me, they are exactly the same.


Translated by Krutna Petrić