“Three Boys”, “Games Inside Games” and “Religion”

Three Boys

Three boys at dusk bring their bikes back
from the place where there are cows.
Too young to think about girls—
and why girls don’t gaze at them
from windows now—they meander,
pause now and then at silvery things
that flaw the road. One stoops
to recover a coin nestled in the stones.
One kicks a bolt with his sandal.
He’s the tough one, the one whose hair
falls down upon his eyes. No need
to brush it back—no one watches,
and even the magpies this hour
envelope themselves inside the trees.
Still, he must be watched. Of the three,
he’ll do something extraordinary:
cure us, perhaps, of our need to accept
obstacles, imagine a new road of noon
and wildflowers, each with a name.
His way will be the longest, the most severe,
and his arrival home will mean Father
puts the newspaper down, Mother
her vast waves of misunderstanding.
His bedroom’s full of photographs:
Cassius Clay, Nazım Hikmet, Pope
Francis kneeling at the feet of refugee.
When he sleeps, the crossroads
of his days fold against each other quietly.

Games Inside Games

A shield of pawns,
a queen that knows
no limits. So quickly we go
to want instead of
strategy, to love
in the minutes
we ponder moves. I lost
my knight in the shadows
of her king, but still
I turn, I listen
to my bishop reciting
the Lord’s Prayer,
hers the Second
Prayer for the Dead.
We exchange pawns now
the way old lovers
exchange adverbs
over coffee. My castles
slide and never grimace;
I am happy awhile
in the stalemate
of retreats and periodic
affections. She lifts
her hand and calls me
Honey as she risks
the corner, the power,
the way out. I block,
I back down, and her smile
softens my resolve. Oh,
how much I want to win,
how much to thrust her
from an errant, obscene
perimeter in heat.
But there are rules.
We must sacrifice
the moment’s need
for measure, precision,
the greater hour later.


The cat’s hanging, almost
terrible belly tells me
she’s recently delivered kittens
somewhere near
43rd Street. But now
she moves nimbly,
no trace of that pain, no wiser
for the tragedies that soon
will befall her—a boy
who tips a dumpster,
a drunk man spins at dusk
in a rented Toyota, another
of her species howling.
She only moves,
for somewhere in the bright-
sun day someone’s left an inch
of yogurt in a plastic cup,
something to lick
if tomorrow is rain
and the weather binds her.

About the Author

Carl Boon

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 Lime Hawk and The Lullwater Review. Forthcoming work is scheduled to appear in The Maine Review and The Hawaii Review. He was also a 2016 Pushcart Prize nominee.

Read more work by Carl Boon.