There on the shore of the Bosphorus on
that baking hot summer evening,
hotter still when Rudy and I stood next to the bearded
old man and his small grill, waiting for him to wrap
two fish sandwiches.With sweat pouring
down our faces, we searched for a place to sit
but gave up and strolled as we ate.
The fish was cheap and delicious.
We went back for more almost every day, sometimes twice.
Our hotel room was unbearably hot.
The window opened to an alley so narrow
no breeze could ever find us. Many times
during the night, we stood up in the dark
and soaked our bedsheets in water
and then laid our naked bodies on them,
feeling cooled only for minutes.
But we were happy. We were still in love.
I didn’t know if we would stay together forever
but I felt sure that whatever happened
would be fine with me. Being very young,
I expected my future to keep changing.
No matter how delightful the present,
I wanted the future to be even better
and knew it would. When I returned to
Istanbul a few years later with a different
young man, one who was afraid to eat fish
from the Bosphorus, who could afford a room
with air conditioning, those wet sheets
were much on my mind and for the first time,
the past seemed a little sweeter than the present
and I was no longer certain my future
would be the one I desired.
Istanbul August 1970