ONE POEM – Nora Selmani


Image: Dhimitër Vangjeli – The village of Prodan near the Greek border, birthplace of the photographer. Kolonja, Albania via

Nora Selmani lives in London and works in academic publishing. She is also co-editor of Porridge, and a part-time witch interested in gender and diaspora. Her work has appeared in Peach MagO GOCEOCCULUM, and Sea Foam amongst others. She tweets @arbnoraselmani.  


I run to come full circle.
To return to fields of wheat
that worked me raw as a child.
To watch these people, my people, pray to a new god
and honour the traditions of the old one.

To greet the silent blackbirds
who watch me as I stand outside the house I grew up in.

Among the poplars,
clouds gather, dark and oppressive.
Cranes fly high amongst them,
pirouetting out of sight.

Do you not recognise me?
I am your daughter and have come back to you.

The morning I left your hearth
my tongue went limp in my mouth.
You blessed me with tears
but a storm was brewing in your belly.

My lover’s hands were too soft, too clean,
his rounded nails unlike yours:
cracked and unpolished,
your palms white with flour.

I know life to be filled with venom,
mud between teeth,
wormwood under the tongue.

So I come back home
to taste the first wheat of summer
and to watch the blackbirds as they sit outside my house.

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