“My mother could never get through sad songs either,”
a low voice I held confided:
his head on my chest.
When he looked up,
everything had vanished,
in which he could have left the planet,
but he wasn’t afraid
and no one we know
ISTANBUL, June 18, 2013
I grew up on a large lawn, on a lake, with rabbits in a hutch that my grandfather built. I didn't "escape" to Istanbul, but when I came "she" took me to her bosom and my needs expanded to match what she offered. She was, as my grandmother used to say, positively bursting.
They said she was going to change, that it, that she was changing already, "they" being the shopkeepers in Sultanahmet which in those days was still delightfully gritty and devoid almost altogether of white linen, but I didn't know what they meant, maybe I still don't.
Last week my friend came to visit and we hid inside a bar and and watched police kick open doors and throw pepper gas inside apartment buildings on my street. There is a lot of bravery and also a lot of justified fear. Where should I situate myself on this continuum?
And when I first came to Istanbul in 2003 and I was only twenty-five, and I was walking past shops at night in rain-soaked Kadikoy listening to Stevie Nicks singing it can make you cry make you break down and thinking please don't make me leave, to whom was I pleading?
Jamie Buehner published her first chapbook in 2012. She currently lives and teaches in Istanbul, Turkey.