Poetry / Katja Knežević

‘Promise’

Issue 3. January 15, 2022

PROMISE

You said next to nothing
for weeks, like mourning was something

one waited outside for to finish
in the exit alley of the theatre.

When you spoke, the words
did not tumble out. No strings of tears.

The hand I clasped did not shake.
You talked of practicalities: the funeral,

the guests, the land, what to do
with the animals he kept; only as an afterthought,

of an undecided emptiness. Having grown up
without a father, I had hoped I could 

borrow a pebble of your sadness, carry it 
around in my pocket, feel the weight of what

it would have been like. I misunderstood
this absence, found myself puzzled

in awe, but also strangely appeased.
Only later, when your new dreams appeared

birthed from memories, like blotches of ink 
on cotton surface of months, I caught up

and saw loss
did not bow to our time, and it already left

behind, in the curve of the corner
of your mouth, in the new slope

of your shoulders, an unmistakable promise.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Katja Knežević is a Brussels-based poet and short story writer who writes in English and Croatian. She has published both poetry and prose in journals and anthologies, and in 2014 she won the Croatian national Young Poet Laureate award. In both languages, she explores themes of identity, trauma, nature and science. She retweets poetry and climate-related news at @katja_knezevic