Image: Dhimitër Vangjeli – The village of Prodan near the Greek border, birthplace of the photographer. Kolonja, Albania via albanianphotography.net
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 Mag, O GOCE, OCCULUM, 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.
Amongst 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.