Isparta / Carl Boon
Now I take to the streets of Isparta,
City of Roses, and I am a rose,
and you are a rose
and my father was
before he became my father,
when he sat on a stoop in Deregümü
and watched the women go by
with roses in their hair.
Had I been his brother instead,
we would’ve wrestled each other
behind the Burç Fırın Bakery
until the last man standing
was the last man on earth,
asking the sky to make the city
disappear, asking Miss Merve
to break the Ramadan bread
in our weakness.
Now I take the Aliköy road
where the roses died when I was born,
where his father paints the earth
and cannot say what happened
to us. I was supposed to be
a son, I was supposed to be
fragile before I became a man,
but never broken.
Carl Boon lives in Izmir, Turkey, where he teaches courses in American culture and literature at 9 Eylül University. His poems have appeared in many magazines, including Posit, The Maine Review, and Diagram. A Pushcart Prize nominee, Boon recently edited a volume on the sublime in American cultural studies.