‘The Morning Visitor’ by Aslı Erdoğan, translated from Turkish by Sevinç Türkkan

“Perhaps I should have mumbled a greeting, should have shaken his freezing-cold hand. Maybe I should have been afraid. But there was nothing to fear in this quiet port city…Not even death, it seemed. It too, would arrive exactly on time, just like the trams, neither early nor late…”

A migrant woman, at a boarding house located somewhere in Northern Europe (possibly a Scandinavian country), has just woken up after a night of very little sleep. She hears someone call out her name in her mother tongue. She invites the short and swarthy man who has turned up into her dim bedroom where all the contents of her room, like her, are bruised and damaged – the clothes are stained, the books are tattered, the small mirror on the wall has lost most of its silvering. They are all witnesses to her solitude. The visitor tells her that soon, the sun will barely rise, and the day will consist of a single night. His eyes resemble a pair of endless, pitch-black tunnels. She finally recognizes his eerie voice – he’s a ghost from the past who reappears inside the dark, eternal cell she’s never left. Perhaps an allegory to haunting past traumas and the dread of the uncertainties that lie ahead in the life of a migrant, ‘The Morning Visitor’ resuscitates the ominous feeling that accompanies one’s worst nightmares.

Published in The Stone Building and Other Places, City Lights Books, 2018