– To Mario –

The child builds a house inside the house
A small hut of bed pillows
A little lamp lights the tiny shelter
The child reads about midgets with his mouth open
And feels happy to have a tiny house like theirs
Whereas Cinderella sings songs
And prepares sweets for the child and his friends coming from the fairytale
Outside a stormy rain falls the last leaves of trees
And the wind howls like a crazy bitch with no reason at all
Sometimes his mother sings to deceive the stormy rain
With melodies sweeter than all the songs
Ever heard going on between Scylla and Charybdis
Tonight Odysseus will certainly invent an Ithaca in Orpheus’s arms
Sleepy though…

Alisa Velaj

Translated from Albanian by Ukë Zenel Buçpapaj

Alisa Velaj was born in the southern port town of Vlora, Albania, in 1982. Her work has appeared in a number of print and online international magazines. Her first full-length book, A Gospel of Light, from which this poem is taken, was published by Aquillrelle in 2015


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