Monday, February 28, 2005

The Walk

Bilkent, Ankara, Turkey

I walk out and down a valley
A glance shows all is rough and wild
But evergreens fresh from a nursery
Belie the wilderness

Black irrigation hoses to trip over
Angry dog barks in the distance
But nothing spied in a few minutes
Curious search.
Continue descending.

A cut off hose is an unnatural spring
Spurting and trickling the water
Has built its own house
Unusual ice sculpture

I place a hand to understand the texture.
Press down. Drops extend away and I leave
A barely visible imprint when I
Eventually walk away
To see into a birds nest

In a twisted spiky tree.
There is a leap up and attempt to scale
A vertical living pole.
A skinned shin and white dusty clothes are the only result.

I wander some more and
Then walk back out of the valley.
Derelict outbuildings wait at the top
Exploring, I find
Tables and seats roughly assembled

Child’s play of house,
Or someone’s cold reality

Memories of adolescence
Floating to the surface
Of consciousness
Like warm air in winter

Shy hand holding on an orange-patterned seat
Between white water-tanks.
Shaded by dusty green and prickly acacia trees
Dirt on cement floor.
Sneaker-clad toe-scratching.

‘Lambada’ he says, ‘Do you know what
It means?’ Of course I do—I was the one who said it was
I love you
No matter that it isn’t.

But I only say ‘yes’ so quietly as
I turn away
Nervous but smiling.
But, ‘Do you know what it means?’—I want to ask him now.

For at school
Our neighborly friendship and courting
He ignores me and plays basketball
With his twin and friends instead.

No sign of Lambada
No dance for me at Valentines.
A lone card dropped on his doorstep
And a hasty, awkward escape after the bell is rung

With an arm cast to protect a broken wrist,
12 year old heart soon to join it.

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