500 words towards feeling, or: all my poems become war poems

i write notes in my phone and hope to be profound. i have examples. you see, i am the kind of girl that makes love to the subjunctive. i am not proud of this per se but i like to wear my wounds. i have better wounds than this but i want to be mundane. all feeling is mundane, but some are more so. ne mogu uvijek govoriti o ratu, even if you want me to.


these are notes i have written in my phone, hoping to be profound: everyone’s cried in a shower [untrue]; there is texture to et cetera [stolen]; entombed; stitches. i am probably not profound. or rather: we are only allowed certain depths.


i think there is glamour in words. words like divulge especially. i like its erotic, its intimate. i like its aural symmetry with vulva, with bulge. i like the way its consonants cradle a soft, secret centre. you are a soft secret centre. i think there is glamour in words, though less so in meanings. the first time i came down i cried to my ex: words are so beautiful and i cannot have them all. there is nothing special about a white woman’s hunger.


i dream that the midbirth of my daughters tenders me to: following the dog down; committing acts of grace; falling into silences. i am a bad mother, i say things i do not mean. i say them because i like the way they sound [quiver; annihilate]. it is a good thing i am not a mother. it is a good thing i will never be a mother. it is feminist to be a mother, or to not.


these are notes. these are extrapolations. one day twenty-five years ago terrible things happened but no one remembers them now. if a man falls in a forest, et cetera. uvijek moram govoriti o ratu, even if you don’t want me to. alternatively: they could not see the genocide for the trees. this is not a note, this is an observation. mothers were involved that day too. and also, not mothers. mostly they were sons.


in real life i rarely fall into silences. this is why i am not profound [there are other reasons, too]. i do not like silences, the way they are pre-emptive. i would tell you the words i have filled silences with except that i want to seem mysterious. i am probably not mysterious. i divulge too many secrets. but also: they are not secrets if you say them out loud. this is protective. i will let you guess of whom.


in the forest, many people could have been saved but were not. this is not a secret although it might as well be. i have never saved anyone but i feel sorry for small dogs whose legs work so hard to keep up with humans. i have sympathy for all things, but especially for myself. i have cried in many showers. this is not a secret either.


Read the rest of Poetry in Lockdown, edited by Toby Fitch and Melody Paloma

If you enjoyed this special edition, subscribe and receive a year’s worth of print issues, the online magazine, special editions and discounted entry to our literary competitions

Dženana Vucic

Dženana Vucic is a Bosnian-Australian writer, editor and 2020 Wheeler Centre Hot Desk Fellow. Her essays and poetry have been published in Overland, Meanjin, Stilts, SAND, Kill Your Darlings, Going Down Swinging, APJ, Plumwood Mountain, the Australian Multilingual Writing Project, Rabbit, and others. She has been shortlisted for the 2019 Deakin Nonfiction Prize, the 2020 Nillumbik Contemporary Writing Prize and the 2020 Woollahra Digital Literary Award. She tweets at @dzenanabanana.

More by Dženana Vucic ›

Overland is a not-for-profit magazine with a proud history of supporting writers, and publishing ideas and voices often excluded from other places.

If you like this piece, or support Overland’s work in general, please subscribe or donate.

Related articles & Essays