Ani Gjika

Flashback 3

Heart of November. Wind blows like a shuffling of eras.
Snow and my mother’s face
wait in the background
to test their philosophy
of inevitability.
Lights, like a line of ants, lead
to the dining room. I am the bride.
It’s the end of the ceremony. And as I prepare to sleep
others carefully remove twenty one pins from my head,
as many as the years I’ve lived.
I know almost nothing of life;
know only that in sharp turns
experience matters less than two burning lights in the chest.


I try to hide my happiness under white fuzz
like an orange, carefully peeled.
I have emerged cunningly from my genetic prophecy,
holding on tight to the belly of the ram
out of the Cyclops’ cave.


If I struggle to part the curtains a little
with two well-manicured fingers,
I will see two shadows moving in harmony on the asphalt
the musician and the cello after the concert:
man and the anti-prophecy.



Read the original Albanian work here.

Translated from the Albanian by Ani Gjika

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