For years we knew only their narrow necks,
upright sleepers perched against our benzine sea,
a carbonized wilderness of steel in a climb
above a dockside sweaty with grease,
the grain terminal, the timber terminal,
stacks of bulk cargo, salt and granite blocks,
chambers of frozen meat. the gulls stamped
and moshed, skanked along pontoons,
hauled fish guts from wakes, laughing
and choking in a plastic, sid ‘n nancy way.
for years we crammed one into another,
eyes hungry for the cranes’ rising away
from our harbor, their skeletal arms lifting
the sky, like a sheet off bare shoulders.
Andrea Jurjević is a poet and translator from Rijeka, Croatia. She is the author of Small Crimes, winner of the 2015 Philip Levine Poetry Prize, and translator of Mamasafari (Diálogos, 2018), a collection of prose poems by Croatian author Olja Savičević. Andrea lives in Atlanta, Georgia.