Carl Boon

How Unlikely

How unlikely that we’re here,
talking over these waves, our backs
to the warm sea. Move the earth
a space-inch and we’re nowhere
or lying against rocks, reptilian,
hard to each other’s wishes and sounds.
How unlikely the sand
that we so easily walk upon—
it neither burns nor gathers in clouds
to blind us, and how unlikely
that we are able to see at all. The light
and the dark both are good to us,
so we must be good to each other,
swim out, swim in, breathing all this
excellent oxygen. One scoffs
at the salt, sad for a moment
that it burns her eyes, but her skin
tomorrow will glow the more for it,
the dead cells gone, the living ready
to be more. How unlikely, too,
that she’s of cells that know and do
and guide her to the souvenir stand
and the ice cream parlor
where the chocolate swirl
tastes so good against her tongue.

A Note on Legacy

A year after she died we discovered
jars of fig jam in the cellar, labeled
with a neat, live hand:
This is for winter,
to remember me,
and branches in Cellophane.
She knew they’d outlive her,
somehow, and knew planning
and adequacy, even as she breathed
the last third of the oxygen tank
that remains on the landing.
It’s hard to move; even a little air
of earth is heavy and resistant.
Then we look to the pantry:
rose-hip tea and chamomile
sorted day and month, and this
is for you and this is for me,
and two candles should the weather
force us into dark. And we say
to each other how beautiful
one remains, how full of life
this letter that reminds us
of the dog’s medication and the tile
just above the kitchen sink,
which sings with steam all August
and will eventually—as we shall be—
need caulked. I find a tube of it
and extra aluminum foil
and a bar of dark chocolate
(your favorite) when I place her box
of ashes near one hundred photographs
of us in every of her seasons.


Carl Boon lives in Izmir, Turkey, where he teaches courses in American literature at 9 Eylül University. His poems appear in dozens of magazines, including The Maine Review and Posit. A Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee, Boon is currently editing a volume on food in American literature.

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