Off The Mirror

This month, PEN Canada is proud to partner with İlkyaz, a monthly, literary platform that features works from writers in Turkey who are under the age of 35 and whose voices are rarely heard. The publication aims to do this by showcasing the prose or poetry of three selected writers each month. To help amplify their voices, we will be sharing the work of this month’s three selected writers here on our website, as well as on Twitter. Each piece will be published in both English and Turkish.

Tuğba Zengin was born in 1997 in Kırşehir. After completing her primary and high school education in Kırşehir, she moved to study Electrical Engineering on a scholarship to Istanbul Developmental University where she is currently a 4th year student. She has been writing poems and short stories since 5th grade in primary school and began publishing them in school magazines during middle school.

Off The Mirror

Tuğba Zengin, 22 years old

I could carry a lovely scent too, you know.
I could’ve stuffed honeysuckles in my pocket before seeing you
In a great hurry, loutishly.
Would there be more love then?
Would love make ways sooner?
Would we not have come across the crossroads,
with a deck of lifeless delicacy in my pockets?
In my dreams,
A silk dress,
A foulard wrapped around my neck
A corset I stuff my femininity in
And you know I had polished nails too
High heels and
My belief of beauty engraved in genetics.

I could be lovely too, you know that
But even the winds blow muddy here
And covers my skin in layers of smut
My eyes could sparkle,
I’m sure you know that too…
I know well the colour red
From dabbling in blood.

I could’ve been the sun’s grace upon the earth.
Had I not been a women of the land
Born from the hands of death

Translated with the author’s approval by Irmak Ertaş and Ege Dündar