Carl Boon


My Father’s Rituals


I rise and rinse the coffee pot,
I look for a spoon. I wonder
who’s died in the night 
and hope the phone won’t ring.
A pair of winter cardinals
rises in the pine, squirrels
brush the awning,
then scatter—a man coughs
in the street. He or I
(some days I can’t be sure)
button our shirts 
for work, go out
with nicks of drying blood
on our throats. I scrape
the ice from the windshield
wearing gloves that were his,
sense the east wind
inside my collar. His collar
that’s become mine
with time, with coffee cups
in various sinks and spoons
arrayed like old calendars.
Sometimes I think he’s out there,
maybe on a lake 
peering back, but no—
he’s inside my movements,
how I clutch the pillow
summer nights, myself
growing into him. Even how
I fold my mouth 
before I make a joke,
knowing no one will laugh.



Carl Boon lives in Izmir, Turkey, where he teaches courses in American culture and literature at 9 Eylül University. His poems appear in dozens of magazines, most recently Burnt Pine, Two Peach, Lunch Ticket, and Poetry Quarterly. He is also a 2016 Pushcart Prize nominee.