TWO POEMS – Nora Selmani

Image: elin o’Hara slavick – Tiny Bottle, 2008

Nora Selmani is an academic marketing assistant, co-editor of Porridge Magazine and part-time witch interested in gender and diaspora. Her work has appeared in Dead King MagazineFEMRATPeach Mag, O GOCE, and OCCULUM. She tweets @arbnoraselmani.

These poems were written about her grandfather, who recently passed away, and offer brief sketches of the time they spent together. Though these pieces, particularly babush, 2016 consciously exclude overt emotion, the two had a very adoring relationship, and he was a constant source of support and inspiration until the very end. He will be missed terribly.

R.I.P. Aga Selman 1928 – 2017


We sit in the morning sun, warming our skin.
His hands, frail as batwings,
reach blindly for the table in front of us.
Without a word, I push the bowl of fruit
towards his outstretched fingers.
He fumbles with the grapes, unwashed,
still on the vine, and pops one in his mouth.
I watch as it bursts like a water balloon between his false teeth.
He wipes his liver-coloured lips
with the back of his hand, and turns to look at me.
His eyes are like pearls.
Neither of us says anything.
He feels around the table and his fingers
brush against an empty packet of cigarettes.
Inside, the phone rings then goes to voicemail.

babush, 2016

he is bone on bone
knotted veins pushing against age spotted skin
grey-stubbled cheek slack against jaw

he sucks on phantom teeth, breath coming out in hoarse purrs
and when his tongue reaches out of his mouth
it reminds me of a strawberry

everything is white;
the bed, the sheets, the pyjamas

his head sits like a quail egg on the white pillow

he is hospital-scented, stripped of skinsmell
a small white body, maybe human, folded in on itself.

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