Tag Archives: marriage

The Song of Penelope: Is it really you, Odysseus?


We move through our house as guests

so polite.. I am sorry, would you like

to brush your teeth first?

I brew coffee, let the dogs outside.

There is no frost on the grass yet,

but it is cold and wet

with September dew.

October strolls in and it is hard to remember

who it is I wake up next to in bed.

I have lost the idea of you;

or you have changed,

or have I?

Magnanimous strangers the next weeks.

There is morning frost.

I wear slippers when I let out the dogs.

You no longer want coffee in the morning.

I drink alone.

Dreading the wolves of winter,

I would hide from December.

You embrace enforced gaiety.

I embrace a bottle and Morpheus.

Just let me sleep until the new year;

There is promise in January and light.

You love me, you say

momentarily distracted from your own thoughts.

We belong


We are good


I don’t believe this anymore, but I nod.

Ignoring February’s valentines and flowers,

my heart beats elsewhere

the house echoes with its rhythm

my heartbeats go unanswered.

I am utterly alone.

The thaw comes before the rains.

The dogs rush outdoors in the morning

green scent of March still clinging to their coats

when they barrel back inside.

You notice that I am drinking coffee

and ask if there is some left

for you.

I cannot remember how you drink your coffee:

black or brown or white.

You watch me pour with a stranger’s eyes.

I offer you the cup 

and ask how you take it.

Spring and summer

cinematic speed.

I no longer miss you.

I no longer kiss you


and yet you tell everyone still

we are so good


I do not know who you are

or if I like you


I move through the house like a gust of autumn wind,

October storm to clear away the dust

left too long sitting.

I ask you to move our bed,

politely as I would ask a stranger

for help:

Please shift our bed so that

I can clear away the dust beneath.

You look at me, astonished eyes

and say that our bed

cannot be moved

by man on earth.

Roots of olive

plumb and true,

inlaid with golden hope and

silver dreams,

it cannot be moved


by those words

I know you once again.


Images from Google


Kina Gecesi

I probably saw you then

from my balcony,

playing on the grass below.

We called that neighborhood

Little Ankara”.

Mothers, some in hijab, sought shadow

under chestnut trees in that last bake of September

while the little ones

laughed and chased the wind.

Then I was a new bride

in a strange land;

I wore no henna on my hand.


I didn’t know the word yet


my heart ached with it that day.

Tonight…the moon is high,

full to overflowing and white as a pail of milk.

We dance and eat and talk, and laugh

until the girls come in.

The same girls

from Little Ankara

grown up, singing to the bride you are

Yüksek, yüksek tepelere…

Asri, asri memlekete kiz vermesinler…

Your fist, compact as the chestnuts

that grew on the trees in Little Ankara

resolute in refusal

until the coin is offered.

Your hand falls open

like a white flower

and they paint your palm

with henna.

Ben annemi özledim

With eyes as full as the moon,

your mother lets you go.

* Hüzün – wistful melancholy. 

Kina Gecesi

Ik heb je waarschinlijk gezien,

spelend op het plein beneden.

Wij noemde onze eerst wijk

Kleine Ankara”.

De vrouwen in hijab, schaduw zoekend

onder kastanjebomen in dat nogal warm September

terwijl ‘t kleine grut

lachte en de wind opjagden.

Toen was ik een nieuwe bruid

in een vreemd land

geen henna vlek op mijn hand.

Ik had hüzün

maar kende het woord nog niet

en kon het niet eens uitspreken.

Stukje bij beetje was ik het vergeten.

Vanavond de maan is hoog

overvol and wit als een emmer melk.

Wij dansen en eten en praten, het is feest.

De meiden komen binnen.

Dezelfde meisjes waarschijnlijk

van kleine Ankara,

niet jagend achter de wind aan,

maar volwassen zingend om de bruid jij bent.

Yüksek, yüksek tepelere…

Asri, asri memlekete kiz vermesinler…

Doe je hand eens open,

maar je houd het vastgesloten

voor de henna

totdat het muntje komt tevoorschijn

en je laat je hand openvallen

als een bloem.

Ben annemi özledim

Je moeder kijkt je aan,

je ogen slaan neer.

Maar er valt geen traan.

Photo found at Google

Kina Gecesi



Heavenly shades of night are falling,

Even the air is heavy with mahogany blossom,

the perfume of early spring

falls over our shoulders,

when we step outside.

Other scents swirl in,

boeren jasmijn”,



the mellifluous

drip of


I don’t remember what they are called

in English anymore.

We walk

between the willows

knotwilgen” you say, and I think

“that sounds ugly”, but bite back

the words before they can

leave my mouth.

I am not looking for a fight.

The path, soft

and muddy dark as pure chocolate

absorbs our footsteps

but there are prints

left behind

like red lipstick on a white collar

revealing that we’ve been


How did we get here?

I look at you,

almost a shadow in the dusk.

Your eyeglasses catch

a bit of light

and I can make out your


Nature is amazing

in its ability to renew

even after an unexpected


The buds have fallen

from the magnolias

in our garden

but the olive trees

show promise.

You tell me your

plans, weave a few dreams

between the first stars

and moonrise

as we walk.

I listen.

You are enchanting

and I am enchanted once more

in that in-between time

of day

when everything

is possible.

VC -VR 1-3-12