Carl Boon lives and works in Izmir, Turkey. His poems appear in dozens of magazines, most recentlyTwo Peach, Jet Fuel Review, Blast Furnace, and Poetry Quarterly.
CHAUTAUQUA, SUMMER STORM
It must’ve been in Erie County
the clouds began to thicken, then
the neighbor docked his boat
and I was alone with my father.
Perhaps he knew he was going to die,
so he brought the boat once more
past the oaks at Leon's Cove
and spun the spinner in against
the gathering wind. Seasoned
by storms, he knew a largemouth
circled, knew she might be the last.
I was too cold to stop him.
I missed my girlfriend's shoulders,
my mother's kitchen, my shields.
I was unused to rain on a lake,
but he forged on, equipped by what
I couldn't guess. I was too young
to know a man's determination
not to die, thin-armed, his Thermos
skittering on the boat’s bottom.
We both breathed weakly.
Anatoly disappears to the pavilion
where the men from the mainland
sell meat. They come from Kharkov
and Kiev in vans.
The tires of their vans send stones
spinning deep into the wheat fields
near Kherson, split sunflowers
Their wives remain behind
with vodka, cigarettes, and novels
to make their nights of absence
buys pork for shashlik, stew meat,
mackerel for his daughter to grill.
She's beautiful, and I'm in love
with her at a distance,
her unraveled hair, the music
she steps into. It's exotic to be
anywhere but Cleveland, Ohio.
The Black Sea
waits below the hills that shadow
the bazaar. The daughter searches
her purse for coins for kvas. Men play
cards in the shade
of the pavilion. It's Wednesday
morning and I, half-alone, plan
to swim in the sea all afternoon
beneath persistent gulls.
GIRL IN VALENCIA
Tomorrow she'll be in Valencia,
loving the crimson doorframes,
the brides dispersing their flowers
on the streets. Pulling back her hair,
she'll feign a shudder as the south
Mediterranean breeze—a boy's
whisper—stirs the dahlias
at her feet.
The cafe managers
will call to her, men for whom
the winter passes too quickly;
they dislike the canvas awnings,
the nameless girls who pass
as if evening were a picture.
They prefer Madrid's solidity,
its politics, cement,
who spend Saturdays
sorting jars of marmalade.
But the girl can’t think of that,
lost in color and sound,
the orange trees along the coast
making evening so beautiful.
The world has not yet touched her.
AFTERNOON IN A VILLAGE NEAR LUGANSK
The best end's abrupt.
One man had to travel
the Federation’s stretch
to sell spring flowers.
There was snow,
a funeral procession
in the village, and women
turning up the dirt.
Isn't it true--
always turning up the dirt?
I saw the whole thing
from my window,
smelling the coal-burning stove,
watching Liza’s mother
sell newspapers, chocolate,
and dish towels.
In Russia no one says goodbye,
no one turns to wave.
But I was happy
that palm fronds had been strewn
along the village road.
BESIDE THE MARMARA APARTMENTS
The palm tree sways
beside the Marmara apartments.
The girl in red smokes a cigarette.
I watch her smoke
rise and disappear.
I can't put a name on the way
she waits there, I can't believe
she's more than an idea--
a thought—who can't see me
as I stand in the universe
of my own dilemmas:
how to make the money last,
what to do with these potatoes,
this syllabus for kids
who've never read
Hemingway or Twain.