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Award-winning poet and short story writer from Cyprus. Published three collections of poetry: The Voice at the Top of the Stairs (2001), Cleft in Twain (2003) and 25 Ways to Kiss a Man (2004). Cleft in Twain was cited by The Guardian in an article on the literature of the new European Union member states in 2004. My work has won prizes and commendations in various international competitions: among others, in the Commonwealth Short Story Competition, the Féile Filíochta International Poetry Competition (Ireland) and the Binnacle International Ultra-Short Competition at the University of Maine at Machias, USA. In addition to a book of short stories, Ledra Street (2006), I have had work published online and in journals internationally. My work was included in Best European Fiction 2011 (Dalkey Archive Press) and in the poetry anthology Being Human (Bloodaxe Books, 2011). Girl, Wolf, Bones – a new book of fairy tale inspired microfiction – was published in 2011.

Monday, June 10, 2013

The Author and the Girl


The author’s life is full of knots and the girl’s eyes untie them.

One night in Ciechocinek the sky painted storms and his hands trembled, he was so fascinated by her. In the kitchen, the girl pounded cinnamon in a mortar. The world was incoherent but she made perfect sense of it. And when she did, everything smiled.

One morning, one wild morning, twenty years ago, she was born. Pogrebinsky, Mila. I insist: let me taste your lips, pat you, touch you, smell you, love you, because one day, light years from now, your  smile will have wrinkles, your lovely heart will be tame, said the author.  And I will be a tailor’s dummy.

You are phosphorescence and a crystal chandelier in my dreams, for now. And she smiles, even though she can’t hear him think. Her skirt looks amused.

Centuries later, they meet by Czarny Staw.

Could you move your face a little to one side, please? she asks. I think I know you. She speaks with a slight accent, clink, clink, clink, as delicate as porcelain.

He doesn’t know it yet, but this is the last day of his life.

I wrote a book about you, he tells her. But the story needs another page, another hour. The hero in the book is old, and he’s getting older. Can you put his younger face back on? There is also a crack in his heart which you must fill with plots without knots, cinnamon and rosewater, yellow evenings.

The girl (who is now a woman) understands. She has lived long and when the moment comes, when he is suddenly not there, not here, she tiptoes around his empty suit. She searches the pockets for words, paragraphs, pages. Finds nothing. Makes perfect sense of it all.

 
© Nora Nadjarian


4 comments:

  1. Gorgeous story, Nora. It moves so effortlessly, and yet so unexpectedly. And what a killer opening line.

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  2. many surprises in this - I love it

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