In Istanbul

(After Child Ballad 53: Young Beichan)

 
You came
                from a strange land, all that
 
clamorous
                dwelling, but not
 
staying;
                halfways here, wearing strangeness
 
like dust
                in your hair, you
               
linger in my kitchen.
                I’ve felt your chest’s
 
irregular tattoo
                - footfall on Thameside
 
the difficult music
                of sailors, the night tide
               
sluice and suck of it.
                Storks muster over
               
the Bosphorus, swinging south
                to Africa. You too
 
must leave.
                I chop mint
               
sensing something terrible
                might happen
 
a slip, a fall           
                - a storm or wreck
 
an ambush in an alley.
                I won’t know
 
when they find you at dawn
                bloodied and limp
               
wonder why you strayed


Tim Cresswell is a geographer and poet. He has been widely published in poetry magazines in the US, United Kingdom and beyond. He has poems in, for instance, The Moth, the Rialto, the North, Magma, Poetry Wales, Salamader and Riddlefence. His collections, Soil and Fence were published by Penned in the Margins (London).