Ani Gjika

December 14, 2015 Gjika Ani



He was a tall man on the edge of the couch
with a cigarette on his fingers,
eyes and mind thrown several mountains
out the balcony.

He was the distance
the life of that smoke
before dissolving in the room

and weather
outside the window
quickly changing: spring,
summer, autumn, wind, wind, wind.

His tapping shoes calmed the whole world
and when we walked the city
he held my little girl hand
tickling my wrist with his little finger

as though trying to remind me
a long, long time into the future
that I had a grandfather
who was not rich

who didn’t have a house, or car
and couldn’t take me to much at all
but he took me around the city
and his hand wrote the streets inside me.

Ani Gjika is the author and translator of eight books and chapbooks of poetry. Her translation of Luljeta Lleshanaku’s Negative Space won an English PEN Award and was shortlisted for the International Griffin Poetry Prize, the PEN America Award, and Best Translated Book Award. She was a 2011 Robert Pinsky Global Fellow at Boston University and a 2019 Pauline Scheer Fellow at GrubStreet. Her memoir, An Unruled Bodywinner of the New Immigrant Writing Prize, is forthcoming from Restless Books (2023).