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from the January 2004 issue

Shadows on the Snow

The snow comes late this year. Violet shadows
doze like shepherds round
a white fire.
The swaying shadow of a fence looks like a woman's clavicle—
a woman who dreams of her lover's snowy journey home,
his late return.

Thin trails lead to the doorway.
A car parked for hours
compresses black earth.
Radio signals float just out of earshot.
A boat with its eel fishers
in luminous raincoats skims by.
A child—his little hand trembling—
casts slanting trees across the table.

The choir kneels.
The moment has come to speak
in a voice I have never known before.

I raise my head and see a single star in the night sky,
shapeless and fearful like the shard of a broken bottleneck,
a star I have for years foolishly followed.
Perhaps the shadow of our infinite persistence
looks to someone else like a large hump
on the Moon
a camel bent over a puddle
preparing for a new stretch of thirst.

© Luljeta Lleshanaku. By arrangement with the author. Translation © 2004 by Shpresa Qatipi and Henry Israeli. All rights reserved.

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