EASTER SUNDAY, TURKEY
Our village shepherd lives
between the hills and practices
the fact of his futility against the weather.
If his smallest turns away, he neither pauses
nor seeks to protect. A lamb will be,
he says, what a lamb must be.
Each of us was born on a night
without stars, and each
through difficult labor.
I come to the stream to wash away
the remnants of the night—
some crumbs of bread, fish bones,
and molasses. My father grows hungry now
at the oddest hours; I hear his heaviness,
the rattling of tin, his breathing.
I’m convinced I can’t be whole.
The cruelty comes
here where sorrow was.
I like noon the best, the mosque wall
makes no shadow on the grass,
the women weave among the weeds
with their children and their bread.
When I was a child, my mother
brought me chewing gum
and picture books of the Prophet
at rest. She was timid, small,
and afraid of the cars.
The cars spurred the stones
against the sideroads, the sideroads
where the owlish women watered
their tea-roses and geraniums.
They made the village beautiful
for the domino-players,
the key-grinders, and the Holy Man.
But that was long ago. There’s gravel
where they used to be.
I had a bicycle the color of July.
I had a cat called İsa who watched my sister
ready herself before the mirror.
On the Holy Days he purred
as I bent with a cup of milk
and a boiled egg and lifted his paw
as if he had a place to be beyond
our little street, our little graveyard.
Carl Boon is the author of the full-length collection Places & Names: Poems (The Nasiona Press, 2019). His poems have appeared in many journals and magazines, including Prairie Schooner, Posit, and The Maine Review. He received his Ph.D. in Twentieth-Century American Literature from Ohio University in 2007, and currently lives in Izmir, Turkey, where he teaches courses in American culture and literature at Dokuz Eylül University.