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If I had known that our affair
would be so abbreviated
I would have leapt into your bed
and fucked you the first night.
I would never have passed up opportunities
for marathon Turkish breakfasts
hours savoring sucuklu yumurta and three kinds of olives
while staring into your Bosphorus-blue eyes.
Would not have waited
to dig up your Ottoman artifacts,
climbing the railingless stone staircases
at Rumeli Hisarı everyday,
not afraid of falling.
I would have lain naked constantly
on the warm marble at the baths,
allowed stout women
named Ayça and Zühre
slough off my dead skin cells
with their loofahs and meaty hands.
Would’ve bought all the fake Chanel
sunglasses and watches
I could stuff in my suitcases
from the dockside vendors at Ortaköy
just before getting on a ferry for no reason.
Sucked gas at Taksim
and defended you. Picnicked at Gezi
and heckled the security forces
craammed in the red tourist trolley
rolling down Istiklal Caddesi.
Taken the funicular
down to the docks
just for fun.
But, with the arrogance of the young
-despite previous losses-, I
breathed just a little
called it life*
and kept my distance.
* line from Mary Oliver’s “Have you Ever Tried to Enter the Long Black Branches.”
Photo by Moazam Rauf