The reader’s home has rooms of objects from a life
Tile from a basilica, ink-steam postcard from a bath-house
Though rarely ever arranged to retell that life
In careful chronological order. Rather they arrive
Photographs of yalis, landscapes of Byzantium
To be moved around, some prominent, some subtle
Passenger liners like passing thoughts, terraced and framed
On tables and ledges and cabinet shelves and desks
Alive to the owner and in no-one’s mind, a museum.
As if, never mind. Istanbul, the same last week
And before the computer and the invention of the camera.
Seven hundred and thirty-four pages of sexual desire
Aroused, teased out, prolonged, refused, promised, fulfilled
Compels the reader through pleasure and ecstasy and satisfaction
And guilt, jealousy, longing, fear, secrecy, and loss
Loss we do not expect even as loss takes over early
As life goes on with all its daily advances and setbacks
As if, never mind. Istanbul will still be the same next week.
What’s she ever done for you? his mother asks him
As late as page six hundred and sixteen
As we ask long after, pondering on was there a moral,
What was she thinking while having the time of her life?
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