Ani Gjika

Long Distance

The neighbors are fast asleep.

A boat

has been anchored

at the edge of the mind.


It won’t set sail. Not tonight.

Not while you’re away.




Daylight arrives agog

babbling like a matchmaker’s clogs

running along cobble-stones.


We say good morning

even though you speak back to me

from another country

your voice barely reaching

like dry leaves falling off tall trees

over telephone wires

and rooftops, over this wind

that seems bound to keep them

endlessly suspended.


On the street, a spirit tree

garlanded with marigolds, candles

and colored ribbons.

The white squirrels are on it again,

the robins and a caterpillar.


Everything is reaching up.





The ivy on the porch wall has died

but life crawls on it

black ants, red ants, small ants.

It takes the black ant four times longer

to crawl the same distance

the red ant crawls.




Now the evening moves in with tiny bites

on my legs and arms

and a train rushes past the hills

above my window.


Cicadas hush tonight

only a pair of relentless wings

throbs against the screen

wanting to get in.



“Long Distance” is from Bread on Running Waters, (Fenway Press, 2013).