The day begins in the same profane cafés
With faces appearing to us more and more often.
We look at the sky
And walk on the same sidewalk
We wash off our sins in the same river
And the night closes with the same sighs
Sinful Sophie’s house is over there
Late Father Luigj rests a little further
We leave the city in anger, the shadow follows us.
The elder man carves his remaining days on his bending walking stick
My mother wraps her age in the heavy shawl.
Children dream of catching the white elephants
That hide in grandparents’ fairytale islands
Noisily we run downstairs in the morning
Quietly we climb them every evening.
Paleness. And Sotiri never forgets to light the gas lamps,
In the shop window, the book-seller collects old books
Insulted by passers-by’s negligence
Poets create paradise in building corners
Which smell urine and ground-out cigarettes.
Girls waiting to be sacrificed on either side of the shore
And nuns die on the last prayer whisper.
We wonder why the days are built like this,
Like crow feathers falling in flight
And destiny darkens under the same crosses.

Translated by Mirela Cupi with Paul Cohn