The Cats' Strike


The cat's cough wakes him at night.
He turns in bed, gets up.
Puts on his dressing-gown because it's cold.
Puts on his slippers because he's barefoot.
Slowly he approaches the window.
Drawing open the curtain, stares:
Below,
In the street,
As far as Republic Square
Thousands of phosphorescent flares
Thousands upon thousands of cats
Thousands upon thousands of raised tails.
Calmly
He closes the curtain.
And returns to his warm bed.
Yawning
He mutters:
               –The cats' strike.


       Serbian; trans. Michael March
                          & Dusan Puvacic


Novica Tadic, Serbian, trans. Michael March & Dusan Puvacic, Child of Europe: A New Anthology of East European Poetry, Penguin, 1991.