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Carl Boon




This girl every evening 
while watching the soaps
polishes her nails
gray or crimson-chrome.
She is good, a dome
of sweetness surrounds her,
and for her husband she 
makes mushroom soup
and waits for him 


and sometimes

if she glances at the window
the stars speak to her.
They say virtue is mundane
and we are sorry 
for the flaws, the frayed
curtain, the spaces
between you and him,
but what can we do? We 
don’t startle and shift.


They do not say
scent the bedsheets lavender,
be silent as the hills
turn black. Most evenings
they say nothing at all.
And if by chance a man
strides down Suçluluk St.
with a briefcase and a rose,
she rearranges her hours

as some rearrange silver.


What matters is
to keep intact those spaces,
to find their comforts
and cling to them as children
cling to chocolate, songs
they’ve memorized,
old anthems of perhaps.

You can see them

in the schoolyard 

keeping rhythm.


Or someday make a book
in which the spaces break,
the stars command, 
the man pauses, twists
beneath a burned-out
streetlight, controlling 
his rose as if it were a wand
to put the world on a pin, 

flinging his briefcase

in an angry release.




Istanbul Life


Fast, like a scandal, 

like an addict's fingers

in the morning in need. 

They tell me this is how

my flesh must move.


If there is thinking,

it must be done before,

the way the hawk surveys

its landscape of prey

in winter, the way


an athlete knows

the outcome before

the outcome. Hail that cab,

be greedy for space

and minutes of comfort.


You might miss the thing

that can't be missed:

the subway seat,

the pretty girl's eyes

tracking you, the ferry


to Üsküdar, where inside

the Harbor Mosque 

it's 1653, figs

arrayed on platters

and men peering 


through cracked walls,

imagining Anatolia

and sunflowers.

Üsküdar's a fine place

for falling in love. 


My folks back in Ohio,

where the spaces dividing

day and night are wide,

where the corn this May

grows, cannot know.










Istanbul LIfe
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