Poetry: Ani Gjika

Ani Gjika (Poetry 2010) is the author of Bread on Running Waters (Fenway Press, 2013). Her poetry and translations from the Albanian language have appeared in Salamander, Seneca Review, Silk Road Review, Linebreak, Two Lines Online, 3:AM Magazine and elsewhere.



7:30am. My dog and I own the sidewalk,
scare off mothers strolling babies,
bring all traffic to a halt,
but on the way back, already he’s dragging his feet -
he knows that going home sometimes
isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Near the end of Hafiz’s book,
a pink carnation petal survives,
thin and dry, two pages
enfold it like praying hands.

Hush, says this hushed little body,
put your hand on me. The right page reads:
“ it is just You and I all alone in the world”,
the left one: “love me”.

How then can you stick the petal where it was,
close the book and put it back on the shelf
as if you didn’t hear or see a thing,
as if you weren’t the one who stirred?

Autumn rewards –
a leaf outside the third floor window.
It rises up while I am coming down the stairs

and when I near the cold glass
it hangs there, unmoving, as if electrified,
magnetized to my sudden stop.

Maybe three seconds, four…

It says something about awareness
the way the eye of a whale
watches you and lets you know
it knows you’re there
even as both bodies move on.

6:15pm. Framingham, MA. Oct. 1, 2009.
To the tune of our town’s church bells:

You are always      one     anywhere      you turn.
You will never      be       all alone       again.

Right before sunset, shadows of maple leaves invade
the room. They’ve learned to transform themselves:
dependent, stubborn, then gliding across the room
boats that have lost both captain and anchor. This short
film of their daily biography plays on the wall
as if to spite me. They quiver and fade, quiver and kindle
and bow, teaching the walls to bend.
It’s like looking at a sonogram.

9:15pm. Commuter train arriving at Framingham station
whistles: weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeave             weave  weeeeave.

“Location” is from Bread on Running Waters, published by Fenway Press. Copyright 2013 by Ani Gjika. Reprinted by permission of Ani Gjika.