A native Ohioan, Carl Boon lives in Istanbul, where he directs the English prep school and teaches courses in literature at Yeni Yuzyil University. Recent or forthcoming poems appear in Posit, The Adirondack Review, The Tulane Review, Badlands, The Blue Bonnet Review, and other magazines.
They led you away.
The stones that flew
from their hands sang
in the wind, in the end.
I would have licked
your scars instead of washed them.
I heard the words they used for you:
harlot, whore, fallen.
I heard their whispers and fury;
their hate meandered
from their tongues.
Prayers in the sun
rose Him, but what of you—
what was left as the figs
turned brown and the landscape
shriveled? Your breasts,
your hips that knew
a man that flew away.
Oh Mary, how was I unborn,
a feather of an unborn bird,
and all I did was trail Him
and weep for you, and all you did
was weep for Him, the lost and found.
I love you better.
I took the stones
and remade the wall they tore apart.
I followed you
among the orchards,
dead limbs lifting to the sun.
I cried in secret and waited
at the gate where you passed.
My father made pots,
and I scratched your name on them
until my fingers bled—
hard, real blood, not His.
EX-PAT IN GAZIANTEP, TURKEY
I wonder what they really think of us,
on the constant search for bathrooms
and drip-brewed coffee. What must it be
to see a blonde American guy
with funny-colored socks surprised
at a lemon rolling down the avenue?
Or a girl named Leman, or a butcher
with intense and cow-eyed sincerity
who points out his platinum daughter
across the way, saying, hey, would you like
this medium chopped? I mean, them
seeing me seeing all this stuff, and often
from the windows of very hot taxis.
Behind the castle at Rumkale-Kasaba
where the Euphrates turns east,
we sit and sip Jack Daniels in the sun,
thinking of football, our mothers’ porches
filled with chrysanthemums, our sisters
in homecoming gowns preparing to dance.