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 Sunset Liminal.
Every writer needs one. A dark-haired
girl moving down the alley,
billiards halls and men
in suits clutching impossibly
clear drinks. A Jimmy Cagney thing,
a tilted hat, a pistol. Or a kitchen
awry with plates and arguments:
I didn’t mean to say that, that kind
of thing. So what about Delaware—
some truckstop—or Parkersburg,
West Virginia, where men drape
their boots over porch rails
and sit down for corn, hot dogs,
and beer? That’s a dog barking
at the picture frame, and Grandfather
never did get up. It could begin:
“Nobody brought him a blanket.”
But this is only a suggestion—
as you could be—to take a scene
and make it something. A coal mine,
a balloon on the river, a crow
in a pocket of reeds. Anything can be,
but most don’t have the patience. A girl
adjusting her skirt before the mirror,
a boy stealing chocolate for his mom.
Nothing should be overlooked.
She’ll have made coffee, shaken
the crumbs from the placemats.
The light from the south window’s
enough to read by—
no matter the radio, the children
chattering stories that were mine.
I cannot know my mother’s loneliness,
how she feels making coffee
among the sounds of sparrows—
she’s not home.
Nor would she wish to be,
because the house is just a house
where she used to be a wife, joyful,
problematic, handsome. Rich
with the hours of night stitched
before her. The kids have gone
with troubles to live into, meanderings
of love and what is not,
what matters and what can’t, here
and there among the living breathing.
The piano is a shelf for pictures,
the rooms too many to clean.