- Nga: Miranda Shehu Xhilaga*
My mother had one skirt and two blouses
One pair of shoes and one pair of sandals
Pretty, soft curls to her shoulder
And soft almond eyes like no other.
My mother had an apron
An apron she wore on top of the skirt
And one of the blouses
And a notebook, which she grabbed
After she put away her apron
And a pen, which from time to time
Stained her fingers.
I imagine her sitting
At the corner,
Near the old cracked stove,
In the far way village
Under a candlelight
Where she wrote all plans and fun things
A little, bright, eager child
Had ever dreamed of.
In the morning, little bright souls
Sang and danced around her.
And the valley bore tiny margaritas
Big enough to sink her soul,
Small enough to humble a man.
And everyone cheered as if life
Was made of fresh air and deep breaths
And hot donuts dripping sherbet
And sips of milk and tiny, white lambs
And young brides on a horse’s back
And a caravan of protégés,
Eyes looking down, the red scarf she wore
To reach a groom at the far far land
Where paradise awaits
And the wedding guests sing
“Her mother is a whore.”
Cry now cry,
Won’t you cry lovely?
cos’ we might just think
You love the man
And that is but a shame!
Mother became “her” at night
In the little theatre where ilfe played out loud
Where she spent time with dad
And tried to forget...
And when I visited
I would look at her curiously
As she traced my face with her fingers
And then took me to see
life from the top of the hill…
My mum wore pearls
A man whom loved drama
And two sweet adorable little girls..
And breasts that dripped love
for the third…
*Born in Albania, Miranda Shehu-Xhilaga is a medical doctor (University of Tirana) and a PhD (Monash University) in molecular biology. Miranda lives in Melbourne, Australia with her family and writes poetry.