Semi-Slav

I read the term ‘semi-Slav’ in a Julie Koh story,

pinned it to my breast by tweeting it

I thank the god my full-Slav cousins pray to

for the highway that replaces my family’s hometown in Croatia

 

A self-satisfying ‘ich’ my ex adds to my surname

slam dunks the pronunciation

spitting smug emojis into my ears

he’s the one who’s been to the Balkans

says packs of feral dogs stalk humans in the night

through hollowed train stations

mysterious 35mm pics or it didn’t happen

 

I lie

and repeat the two facts I know about Croatia:

‘THEY HAVE BEAUTIFUL BEACHES!’

I’ve seen them in the background of EDM festivals on Instagram

‘My family’s from Dalmatia’ — the Dalmatians my cousins kept in the 90s edge on clearer lineage

 

I wish I’d filmed more of my baka before her funeral,

Ws on her tongue would split in half and land as Vs

a new English word meant milk’s O U T R A G E O U S

turning Neighbours off,

our backs towards a Serbian family on-screen

 

Coming home in high school

I am a thirteen-year-old girl with one beer,

my brother, a nine-year-old boy with two

I don’t know the Croatian word for this

 

Dad/Vlad, turned John

easier to get through, like first names need to be chewy

says they built a highway through the town we come from

so now I don’t worry about visiting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sophie Rasic is an Australian–Croatian writer working on Wurundjeri land. She has recently curated an online zine for high school students unpacking gender inequality through storytelling and artwork for the Stella Schools Program. More of her poetry can be found in Keep Brave and Inhabit zine.

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