Carl Boon

Three Poems

by Carl Boon

LOST IN KHARKOV

I needed a post office.
I needed a beer.
Heroes of Labor Street
was long, my landmarks
confused with the map
I left on the Kirova bus.

Because this girl
on Stalingrad Prospect
owned legs
that reached to Lenin’s
palm, and moved
like a sparrow, furtively.

I followed her as far
as the Railway Museum,
then got lost because
I was a boy, with no reason
for being in Kharkov
or anywhere, but I knew

there was a post office—
somewhere. I had a letter
for my father in Ohio,
blue ink that said

I’ve fallen in love.
Who won the Final Four?
I’m going to die.

I’m basically happy
to be old now, there being no
Stalingrad Prospect,
no girls with long legs
to distract me
near Lenin’s statue.

There are others
to write such letters,
and my father is dead,
listening to Miles Davis
play the trumpet
somewhere, listening

to long-ago music
in a place like Ohio.

SHARI’S BABY

Shari’s baby tries to sing,
but the rain’s outlandish

and swallows her song
before it’s a song. It’s this way

in storm in Ohio,
July afternoons, and the gutters

know, and the trucks make
one puddle three.

There was a note, a budding
melody she heard

in the kitchen, like violas,
like why is the sky

a painted thing,
and why are we drifting?

Shari lifts her baby, brings her
to her breast, and listens.

Something’s calling
through the rain

that is not the rain,
that is a question.

A MAN’S LEFT

A girl ponders the acacia
brushing the window.
Her wrists are scarred.
Her bedroom’s awry
with panties and medicine
in thin brown bottles. She hears
her mother’s voice
saying it’s a holiday. And how
shall I season the lamb?
She finds herself in a novel
on the Aegean Sea
until the call to prayer
astounds her into being again,
being without his deep,
beckoning laughter,
his resonance. They traveled
in the mountains once;
they drank mineral water
and memorized the shoulders
of the bread-seller.
There were hawks
and it got dark early.
The world they shared,
graceful and mysterious,
won’t be shared again. Her gray,
contemplative eyes go
to the corner of her room,
where a pair of carved gulls
look back at her, propped
on a volume of poems
by Orhan Veli.

Carl Boon lives and works in Istanbul, Turkey. Recent or forthcoming poems appear in Posit, The Tulane Review, Badlands, JuxtaProse, The Blue Bonnet Review, and many other magazines.

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