A short chronicle of 1967

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.