My ancestors never came close to the city.


Their graves are on coastlines and in open fields,
their last breaths were not in flats but in the mountains
and out on the open sea.

The first of my family to die here was my father,
a man who longed for the country,
where he would skip white stones in clear lakes.

My mother loved London;
the way that grey bricks fought the fierce wind
until it was a soft breeze playing on her face.

I love the esprit de corps,
the thin film of blood on concrete blocks
where my hand makes contact whenever I fall.

But at night,
I hear the gurgle of the river,
and from the forest the owls call me,

the dun rocks beckon and the leaves on the trees salute.

The wind gently summons me
and I come to a house where I see my own children
eating bakllavë together,

and I, the prophet, singer, the crone,
chase them like a child chases a butterfly.


Nora Selmani lives in London and works in academic publishing as a marketing executive. She is co-editor of Porridge Magazine and a part-time witch interested in gender and diaspora whose work has appeared in Peach Mag, O GOCE, OCCULUM, and WIFIE amongst others. She tweets @arbnoraselmani.