Wendy Taylor Carlisle

The Business of Spires

When you get to Istanbul,
there are no goats
but you will feel that goats
are about to appear.
You will hear
the call to prayer
shimmering over the park,
interrupting sound
on a human scale:
a squeal, a shopkeeper’s call.
You will know
it was once Byzantium
by its infinite blues,
a subtle red, erratic gilding.
There, you will see
it is the business of spires
to capture
a wandering hawk,
the habit of the Bosporus
to butt against
the seawall like a ram
and of the breeze,
tired by noon,
to get its second wind
by 10 PM. In Istanbul,
you will feel me still
in the liturgy of olives
and fish, entering
a marble watering trough
with the ants. In Istanbul
you can embrace
the ecstatic, uneven
sidewalks, step aside
to let an old cat pass,
then rest with
the rows of shoes
in the courtyard
or shout at the TV soccer
with the tourists
in the street of tourists.
Take your days
in Istanbul like minarets
take the horizon,
cobblestones rolling
under your sneakers,
your messenger bag
full of stars. Listen to
the wind circle the spires,
welcoming travelers,
welcoming you home.


Papier Mâché

Blue morning in a house north of town
set far back on its lot. Magnolia, finches
and pin oak inhabit the yard. Azalea bushes
crouch along the front walk. Old-fashioned
four-light windows give out onto wooden
porches. Find me in my cliché recliner, reading
the Times. The wind shifts the shrubs along
the railings, whips through the redbud.
A tanager tap, taps, butts the glass doors
over and over diving for the papier mâché
apples on the dining table. The bird imagines
they are edible. I imagine this morning’s
headline explicates reality. Tap. Tap. Bump.
Over and over we pummel our little skulls.



wendy-taylor-carlisleWendy Taylor Carlisle lives and writes in the Arkansas Ozarks.  She is the author of two books, Reading Berryman to the Dog and Discount Fireworks.  Her most recent publication is Persephone on the Metro (Mad Hat Books, 2014.) She has published two other chapbooks. Her work is widely available on line. See her in Concis,  Gingerbread House, the Kentucky Review and upcoming in Cider Press Review.  For more information, check her website at www.wendytaylorcarlisle.com.

%d bloggers like this: