‘Tomato Seeds’ by Melisa Kesmez, translated from Turkish by Ralph Hubbell

“What a wonderful thing to be a woman’s daughter. Even if just a hook nose or a forefinger that doesn’t look like anything but itself, it’s one of life’s miracles that we get to carry all the way to death those sacred gifts endowed to us by our noble mothers. With these secret marks they’ll always tell us, “You came from me,” from my clay, from my soil, from my roots.”

Travelling on a ferry boat on the Bosphorus, the narrator notices two other passengers: women who she takes to be a mother and a daughter. She carefully examines their body language, their very different features, to notice their identically shaped noses. Then she considers her own relationship with her mother (apparently her left forefinger is identical to hers). At times, intensely moving, the story goes onto explore the very special mother-daughter bond which travels through generations.

Published online on The Bospohrus Review of Books, September 2018 and available to read here

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