His parents, July 1974:
The week of the Cyprus invasion.
She can’t conceal a smile for the camera
capturing the Aegean shore.
She wears white lace draped over what was
my body type. Young grape vines in black
and white bloom behind her frame.
Beside her, he looks homesick, elated, afraid.
The army didn’t want his help, they’d said.
Then our turn, 2013:
Behind the scenes, the month of Gezi Park,
we try on gas masks in our wedding gear,
sip clear liquor, leave late, marry in the dark.
When Chernobyl melted across the Black Sea
from his childhood, his mother waved
radiation wands over all his favorite fruits.
Hazelnuts were banned. Poisoned tea plants
bloomed and gleamed along the rainy border.
Winter days at the Russian Bazaar.
Peddlers filled their stalls with relics
from every satellite republic:
telescopes, shawls, zodiac boats,
teacups, gems, picture frames, a faucet.
All they could carry with them from home.
His mother still dusts their objects in her home
and tells their embellished pasts for her guests.
Seaside summers. Swimming west
past the green island shaped like a slipper.
Hours of strokes through shallow water.
His sister watching from the terraced garden,
camouflaged in Aegean flowers.
Ramadan nights on the balcony.
His aunt swirling wine, recalling
a now nameless sultan, the one who,
afraid at the end of the empire,
locked himself behind his palace walls
with his eggplant chef. The wine spills.
Coffee comes. Prophecies smudge
on the walls of cups. He sleeps to them.