Saturday, April 10, 2010

Krygyzstan, A Love Letter

I wrote this poem when we returned from our 3 week trip through Kyrgyzstan last August, putting together a melange of my sensory impressions of the country. I am re-posting it here in honor of our Kyrgyz friends and family, hoping that conditions in Kyrgyzstan are calming, hoping that the country will be able to move forward into a better future.

Kyrgyzstan; A Love Letter

Call to prayer rises in still, dark air.
Dogs, kitchen scraps from feral, harmonize
with a truck tire's squeal. Baking bread
wanders in on woodsmoke and charcoal. Skewers
of shashlich slash parallel lines
across a grill. Somewhere a donkey balks.

Oval melons the color of kelp, pyramids
of tomatoes--skins stretched thin
over sunshine and water flesh, sacks
spilling pale pistachios, roasted
until their shells seam. Dust coats
concrete with a layer of thirst. Streams

tease berries to bursting. An apple tree
hunches over a rusting fence. Chengis Khan
slept here, scrawled chromosomal graffiti
over the wide cheekbones, narrow eyes. Yurts
soften the jailoo with the roundness of breast
or hip. Wet wool is the scent of warmth.

Notched chessmen, impatient for nicotine
stained fingers, wait for a fresh pot of chai.

--ljcohen, 2009

shashlich--a type of meat kabob
jailoo--summer pastures in Kyrgyzstan
yurt--a dome like tent used by nomads on the steppes

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