One gets used to death but never fear.
I hear the lorries raging past the hill
at Shebaa, where we used to pick raspberries
for jam. My mother had such long hair.
As she stirred the sugar in, I smelled the jasmine.
It was home. We were never strangers.
Bombs were for brittle places: Basra,
Beirut, but never here. If she were alive,
I’d ask her why they came here.
And why my brother never eats his soup.
And why there are so many flags.
PORTRAIT, 6:30 A.M.
The woman in the window
rinses her cup. Her husband’s
left for work. He binds books
in a room where dead flies collect
in the corners. Her son’s
boarded the bus for school.
She, knowing few of the intricacies
of workday life, considers
a second cup of coffee and stops.
She remembers what she dreamed:
her father dragging a rake
through grass and roots
in an Anatolian village.
As the lump in her breast
grows larger, she puts on a red skirt
and waits by the mirror
for light to fill the room again—
the sun of villages, and smooth,
rich, almost virgin soil.
Warrior of nails & planks,
hammering man on the roof
watching the sea where
Politburo Soviets swam.
I loved his daughter,
& making love listened
to his house rising
from the Crimean soil. Enough
for winter storms, enough
to keep away marauders & cops,
dying relatives & oil mafiosos
from Kiev & Poltava.
Room by room the walls, floors,
this place for a mirror
& this for a sink. This for his wife
who never laughed,
who took her coffee
in tiny glasses & scowled
at the toddlers if they touched
her geraniums or Persian cat,
Masha & white. All day
the pounding, the washing
of the sea against the stones,
the girls from Moscow
who took houses for granted.
When it got too dark to see
the Tatar Shamil came
with his vodka & his guitar,
& those nights the house
seemed larger, less fragile,
as if a hundred gunblasts
could do nothing. It was my lover’s
birthday, his daughter’s birthday,
Baltika beer, Madeira,
& even Vladimir woke
from his drunk & danced.
We all danced, first together
then alone in our imagined homes.
Carl Boon lives and works in Izmir, Turkey. His poems appear in dozens of magazines, most recently Two Thirds North, Jet Fuel Review, Blast Furnace, and Sunset Liminal.