Milica Mijatović

Oj Golube, Moj Golube
March 24, 2023 Mijatović Milica

Oj Golube, Moj Golube


I was born to pigeons cooing.
Was the war over then? Not sure,
officially maybe yes, but Mama


gave birth in a windowless hospital.
And by windowless, I mean the windows
had been shattered by bullets or shrapnel,


so the draft almost killed all of us.
The pregnancy ward was one room,
beds like soldiers on the front line,


babies like bullets aimed at the next
one hundred years. I asked Mama
if she thought she was going to die.


She said the pigeons were everywhere,
and everything smelled bad. I asked
if anyone died. She said not everyone


noticed this big pigeon in the corner,
gray and blue, mora da je majka, poised
and happy. Warm. Sometimes I think


I hear cooing, a sort of calling home.
It’s as if the pigeons remember
Mama holding me til a nurse took me


because Mama was coughing, sick.
Both of us lived. It had to have been
the pigeons. They were our peace treaties,


our ceasefires. One time a man told me
every pigeon you see is a prayer—svaki
golub je molitva—and it made me wonder


if Mama ever saw any pigeons at all.


Milica Mijatović is a Serb poet and translator. Born in Brčko, Bosnia and Hercegovina, she relocated to the United States where she earned a BA in Creative Writing and English Literature from Capital University. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Boston University and is a recipient of a Robert Pinsky Global Fellowship in Poetry. Her poetry appears or is forthcoming in Rattle, Salamander, Plume, The Louisville Review, Poet Lore, Collateral, Santa Clara Review, and elsewhere. Her chapbook, War Food, won the Fool for Poetry International Chapbook Competition and will be published by Southword Editions in May 2023. Her poems have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and she serves as Assistant Poetry Editor for Consequence.