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Ribbon Time: the Week Before.

Ribbon Time:
The Week Before

   The women of the family still immersed in their prayers,
   As the shrine surrounds them with patience and half-darkness,
   Between the murmurs and the two of us
   Stand iron fences, a dusty ground and some blue tiles.

   Almost visible tears in his eyes,
   Not sadness, just the wind -- my father.
   Nothing to be afraid of, he sighs, just a red ribbon.

   My eleven years old mind gets offended.
   The older brothers of mine clear as a schoolbook:
   Sterilized hypodermic syringe, a government certified paramedic,
   Centuries old traditions and our young, modern republic.

   My friends jubilant, nasty firecrackers:
   The barber, the old barber slices it,
   With his dull, rusty razor, shaky hands, hairy, wrinkled!

   Emerging from the shrine
   My great-grandmother, my grand-mother
   Black shadows, ghosts, vague.
   My mother lovingly crisp
   As she pulls down her scarf -- soft, white.

   My father taps the end of his cigarette
   On the light brown packet.

   Tilting slightly my ceremonial cap
   With a smile hesitant between mischief and tenderness,
   What about a blue one, he says,
   Instead of red?

Adnan Adam Onart is a software architect. His Turkish poems have been published in various magazines; English work has appeared in the Boston Poet.

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Author:Onart, Adnan Adam
Publication:Prairie Schooner
Article Type:Poem
Date:Mar 22, 2002
Words:202
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