Heart of Split


There’s a place
at the heart of Split where

tiny streets taper
into arterial corners of the brain, enter

the mind’s peristyle, so that
you can see out into the garden

and thick fog
descends over the Palace, heavy

like a moon full of skulls.


The city is profile
of limestone covered faces,

walls that stare
into the present’s lingering past.

The land where
the Palace continues curves

itself seaward
like a hip into stone, its arc inward

toward a solid womb.


And blood, not
soil, fuels the earth.

A field of hardened head-stones
crosses into border

of coagulated bones
to form the entrance front.

the sun spills red onto rooftops,

a sea of coming ships stains
the horizon wall.


Olive trees,
(ripe when black, otherwise green)

mark the coast. At times,
symbol of longevity,

the time her salt-filled lips
shaped moons

to allow the fruit, your finger,
to enter,

to swallow the whole sea at once.


Its marketplace
stretches into infinite

parade of slaughtered pilchards.
The scent

at the still of your neck
to which her cheek anchored itself

so often. Over the terrace,

square white sheets flirt
with bent wind.

Branka Petrovic is currently pursuing an MA in English and Creative Writing at Concordia University, working on a manuscript of ekphrastic poems, co-editing Headlight Anthology, and translating poetry from Serbo-Croatian into English. She received her BA in English and Philosophy from McGill University.