Anorexic Safety of Public Transport by Nermana Česko

Translated from the B/C/S by Mirza Purić.


I untwist my headphones at the bus stop,
hysterically cussing, hands shaking
with the fear of the roar of the yellow bus
and of a youth whose threats drown out the passengers’ voices
behind his festering gaze
gashes drip undressed
with images of the passengers
armed to their teeth.

They say
he’s insane and has papers to prove it
not much we can do.

Can we buy, at discount prices,
on Black Fridays,
in shopping centres,
new skins to clad ourselves in
and be wonderful?

So that when I see a yellow bus
the old projector in my head will no longer
play reels about disappearing,
always in sloo-oo-ow motion,
and so that the nightmares, both his and mine,
will no longer haunt my waking hours,
every working day,
in anorexic public transport
which, according to the government,
is supposed to be safe.

Photographic response by Kenan Muslić.


Nermana Česko holds a BA in English Language and Literature from the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Sarajevo. Her work has appeared in H.O.W. Journal (online) and NEMA. She participated in the first Narrative Witness exchange produced by the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program (US). She has also performed her poetry at the Sarajevo War Theatre (SARTR). Nermana has been a member of the Sarajevo Writers’ Workshop since 2012.

Mirza Purić is a literary translator working from German and B/C/S. He serves as a contributing editor with EuropeNow and in-house translator with Sarajevo Writers’ Workshop. From 2014 to 2017 he was an editor-at-large with Asymptote. He has several book-length translations into B/C/S under his belt and his shorter translations into English have appeared in Asymptote, H.O.W., EuropeNow and PEN America, among other places. He plays Bass VI and baritone guitar in a band.

Kenan Muslić is an architecture student from Sarajevo. He is currently working as a photographer for the “Days of Architecture” festival in Sarajevo and the Association of Architects of Bosnia and Herzegovina. He specializes, too, in landscape photography and is a mountain guide and alpine climber. He has exhibited his work in Sarajevo in group exhibitions and one solo show.


Published on December 6, 2017.


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