BellaOnline Literary Review
Gentle Face by Christine Catalano

Table of Contents


Eighteen Again

Art Heifetz

A lanky eighteen again
with hair covering my ears
Im awakening on a beach near Antalya
back then only sand and sea
a string of rickety shops
and a small patch of bamboo
where I do my business
until Im shooed away
by an angry farmer.
Ive traveled on everything that moves,
a donkey in Goreme,
a truck bed filled with watermelons,
a bus with luggage strapped to the roof
where I hawk my banlon shirts
to earn a few bucks
until the next check from home.
Boys fight to invite me to their houses,
linking my pinky with theirs.
Their parents serve me soup with
fish heads staring back
and when they leave the room
I feed them to the cat.
Its no wonder that along the way
Ive picked up my fair share of
microbes and coughs and scabs.
Weaker than chickenshit Dad would say.
The yoghurt cleans me out
but I can only afford to eat
in greasy spoons
where flies swim in the sauce
and workers eye me warily.
Still, leaning against my pack
and watching the waves roll in,
Ive never been so happy
before or since.
The sky retains a faint pink glow.
The day is just beginning.

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