Heart of Split
Branka Petrovic



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.


Outside, 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.