(1955 / Istanbul)

The Slipper

One day a few months ago
an old woman appeared
at the entrance of the underground station.
She was begging.

Her clothes were torn but white as white.
She reminded me of my grandmother:
her eyes full of fear,
her last days.

Each time I passed by her
I made a habit of saying ‘Good morning,'
and giving her some bread or money.
She never said a word.

The other day I tried to say more,
she looked, but obviously didn't understand.
She took what I gave her,
turned her head the other way.

When I passed by yesterday,
she wasn't at her usual place,
on the ground I saw a single slipper
in faded pink, sequined, on its left side

a blood-red plastic heart.
Tiny and glittering.
As if it would, at any moment
start beating.

Translation: Saliha Paker and Mel Kenne

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