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Poetry by Carl Boon

Japan
The Scar
Surrounded
Published December 29, 2016

Japan

The broken cherry branches
mingle
in disappeared places
with the dying. Sakura calls
to her mother, Shiho to
a memory.
What beautiful dreams they saw
before the earth shook:
golden butterflies
in golden suns,
books  
of lavender and lilac.
Now the sirens, the smoke,
the machinery of death
moving through morning.
What will remain
among this scatter
is what the earth rejected.



The Scar

They remember the confusion,
the scar unaltered by decades.
They’ll turn again to each other
for why, but first the plum tree
in its frenzy of white
beseeches them, the crow inside
who arrived the morning
Daniel was reported dead
in Vietnam, a gunshot wound
to his belly, another to his arm.

He was 19. The officer stammered
at their doorstep in Des Moines,
and the letter nearly fell
from his hand. Each separately
thought it too poetic, more
a greeting than a warning.
It was early April, and the snow
from the final storm had melted,
save traces in the shade
where the crocuses would bloom.

It’s 48 years today, a morning
in Iowa and the crow remains,
calling for no one, calling
across the corn. They listen;
they no longer glimspe the flag
before going to bed—and long ago
they stopped praying, playing
euchre with the Westmorelands,
and going to the movies. The crow’s
enough, and maybe a crossword.



Surrounded

Surrounded by Muslims
in the Starbucks
on Kerim Gökay Avenue,
I sit reading
The Autobiography
of Malcolm X
in Istanbul.

I sit staring at a blue-eyed
blonde girl who’s never
done the dishes, performed
her ablutions, nor praised
Allah.

Or I am wrong, and the world
has grown so large
since 1954 it doesn’t matter,
my being here, my being
different and not at all—

a guy with a book, a guy
who likes his coffee milky
and sweet, who’ll disappear
into the faces in an hour,
a Muslim or maybe not.

The girl studies seven
algebra equations and 99
story problems, and never
looks in my direction
except by accident.

Kerim Gökay Avenue
is filled with strangers,
so I walk, buy two tomatoes
and a bottle of wine
as the call to prayer comes up.


Biography
Carl Boon lives and works in Izmir, Turkey. His poems appear in dozens of
magazines, most recently Two Thirds North, Jet Fuel Review, Blast
Furnace, and the Kentucky Review.

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