ONE POEM – Nora Selmani


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


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.


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

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