It's no surprise their eyes are startled. Snow flakes mingle with their manes. They look down for an instant and then throw a fixed, prolonged gaze at some pointless direction. Suddenly, one of them snorts and turns his eyes toward me. There is so much innocence deep inside them! Like the babies' eyes trying to get accustomed to the light. The longer they look at you, the more peaceful those pupils grow! And I feel so ungrateful, when I think of the fire awaiting me at home, on the mountain peak. For I do have a holy fire that eternally waits for me. These creatures, instead, will remain lonely by the barren trees, subject to the empathetic sighting by travelers like me, which, after all, remains just casual sighting...
Extremes of persimmon taste
These days will soon elapse
and you will, thereafter, recall my hesitation
hanging from persimmon branches;
my suspense at realizing why, oftentimes,
shade or no shade, the sun burns alike.
You will recall the bite of time,
like the bite we take of a persimmon,
which may taste sweetly terrific
or astringent enough for a terrible choke.
You're not there, though,
to figure all this out...
Perhaps, fall won't be any more your visiting season;
you might be seeking a different sky within yourself.
My love, you now resemble a nocturnal flower,
spreading wildly away from your sustaining soil.
I have nothing else to do this September,
but to watch and wait in the woods at twilight
for that ghost season to hopefully flash by
all of a sudden...
She boasts a crown of white tulips on her head,
a pillow of tulips every time she awakens from sleep;
she is a boat in her aspiration toward light,
an echo encased within a tulip's body frame...
(Sounds of oars stroking the water
reach her I don't know where from...)
The azure aquarium
The Heads Museum is her ultimate thought
every time she takes her children to the Azure Aquarium.
They will ask so many questions about the fishes,
about the corals the guide puts in their hands,
one enigma after another in each aquarium section,
that she will leave the place for a while
and, once again, think back of the Heads Museum...
The yearly ticket to this exploration is so cheap,
it's so cheap to afford the aquatic wonders,
to dive into worlds unbeknown to the eye,
to touch with senses creatures from every sea and ocean!
It's so affordable to sniff infinity
as it is impossible to work for immortality...
Her thoughts ebb in dialogues with her last boyfriend
who pledged his mind-boggling wealth as surety
for his own head after death...
She gets lost after the electric fishes,
while fantasizing how one of their sparks
could set aflame the whole aquarium
along with all of the human heads
and the yearly tickets in their wallets...
Perhaps, this is one more insanity that will come to be forgotten. These nights, on the shore of the
glacial pond, the silhouette of a man appears in my dreams.
The snow is so amazing, so dreamy are the mountains that I cannot realize why this silhouette
should even occur. The man first displays his smile, then his head and body. Suddenly, his body
turns foggy, while the head and his meaningless smile remain pending in the air.
I want this foggy-framed man to leave me and never return. Same as there is no return for a
traveler's footprints on snow, once the next snowflake rules in...
Evidence of a season
Thissunny-haired little girl,
with plastic bags in her hands,
picking up yellow leaves
early in the morning,
to explain to her teacher
what fall is...
Translated from Albanian: Arben P. Latifi
Alisa Velaj was born in Albania, in 1982. She holds a Ph.D. in Albanian Language and Literature, which she has been teaching as subjects at university level, while writing poetry, prose, essays, articles, and research studies. Velaj was shortlisted for the annual international Erbacce-Press Poetry Award in UK in June 2014. Her work has been published in over 100 international online forums, printed magazines and anthologies across many countries (USA, UK, Sweden, Australia, Israel, India). Alisa earned an Artist-in-Residence Scholarship in February 2019 and attended the AIR Litteratur Västra Götaland Program in Villa Martinson, Jonsered, Sweden. In 2020, she won The National Prize in Poetry, awarded by the Albanian Ministry of Culture.