Ani Gjika

Narration in the Third Person

It begins
when you start searching for a darkness
that resembles you, as searching for rhyme at the end of a following line of verse,
for a little music, or the exchange of carbon dioxide
between flowers in the evening.
It – the feeling of turning forty.
And it’s only a matter of style
the way years pile on top of one another,
because no clashes are expected, or noise,
because the hardest blow has already been taken
the way statues take it, nose-first.

 

A woman approaching forty
is a shadow in search of its object,
a monologue in the third person;
a series of lessons, little notes in red ink underlined
on the right margin. Spaces between lines are like flesh, like the body –
brief waiting periods behind a dentist’s door
from where the stench of arsenic
comes and goes.
Experience…, experience…, experience…,
small zig-zags and the sense of accomplishment
with which the silkworm nibbles at mulberry leaves
starting at the tip.

 

She makes peace with everything: keeps her drawers tidy,
practices yoga,
training her soul as a runway
for takeoffs and landings.

 

… when you approach forty,
or better yet: if you approach forty,
because being forty is not often required,
it’s a choice
like choosing a bench at the park,
the one that faces away from the street
if we’re not waiting for someone. 

 

 

By Luljeta Lleshanaku

Translated from the Albanian by Ani Gjika.

"Narration in the Third Person" is from Haywire (Bloodaxe Books Ltd., 2011).