Sky-Meaning I

No matter the time or place, I’ll always grow for the one who is the sea.
With one thin finger cut in half.
That is why I’m the oldest recipient of your on-again, off-again love.
And that is why I grew up in the desert, with nothing but a single slice of sweet melon.

I’ve made you into a cure, I’ve emulated you.
I’ve torn up some of my poems, and procured new ones.

And if I’ve passed too quickly from one situation to the next—
Not because of blood, not fatally—but through a kind of companionability,
Now, at last, I’m the strength there is in numbers.
It’s just a memory, if I clam up, looking at my finger-stub.

As I open my eyes, you’re the sun hung out on the line.
You’re a blue child, you’re our love
Peering out at me from the middle of a blue warehouse.

The Rooster & the Stairs

Up is up, down is down a little.
The rooster and the stairs are in the middle.
My dear rooster: he’s telling a lively tale
            up there on the stairs.
The bright red of a whistle makes the child a child.
A ten-armspan thread draws my mother.
I lean my head into the water bucket.
How ever many fish I think of,
            that’s how many fish there are.


Edip Cansever, 1928-1986, was a member of the influential group of Turkish poets known as the Second New who wrote in a colloquial style with a vision of poetry influenced by European, particularly French, surrealism. Cansever inherited a small antiques business from his father and sold furniture in the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul.

Julia Clare Tillinghast is a graduate of the creative writing program at Sarah Lawrence College who has published in Arts & Letters, Irish Pages, Agni and elsewhere. She lives in Istanbul with her husband and her son Hamza.

Richard Tillinghast’s new book of poems, his eighth, is The New Life, published in March by Copper Beech. He has collaborated with Julia Clare Tillinghast on Dirty August, a selection of Edip Cansever’s poems, due out later this year from Talisman Press.

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