Nine boys arranged in a crescent kneel
at the passing of the wildflower man,
nine boys whose mothers
must go without beauty
and stolidly survey the rooms
they were born in and confine them.
No one speaks in this land for fear
of trespass or the worse of being right.
No one vomits without the requisite
of watching stars thereafter.
From some distance I’m a witness
to Zainab crushing spices for maseer
and studying the Quran for hints
of her ancestors. How austere she is:
the braids fall down her back
and the weather’s in her skin.
In an hour, her sons will sit to eat;
they’ll salute her with soft hands,
each wishing he were in love,
each wishing for shorba with mint.
Carl Boon is the author of the full-length collection Places & Names: Poems (The Nasiona Press, 2019). His writing has appeared in many journals and magazines, including Prairie Schooner, Posit, and The Maine Review. He received his Ph.D. in Twentieth-Century American Literature from Ohio University in 2007 and currently lives in Izmir, Turkey, where he teaches courses in American culture and literature at Dokuz Eylül University.