Peter Balakian

Leaving the Big City
January 6, 2014 Balakian Peter

Leaving the Big City


So afterward I sat by the bosphorus blue water and many dazzling

shapes smoothed the atmosphere; somehow the mind grew still as

a shadow passed through and the shore was occluded by small boats and overhanging


Out of nothing–sounds of the daily world broke through and came

as an affront to what was lost. Rushing traffic sounds died in my head.

Tourists moved through streets and the smoke of grilling meats and balm of spices.

Once my father was a reflection on a wall, and time collapsed for the time of listening

to what couldn’t be imagined and the sound of that elusive lost boy among

other lost boys who found passage out on ships, who stuffed themselves

into a crease the way a sock is folded into itself and stuffed inside a satchel

and the satchel moves across latitudes with the clarity of shadows.

Peter Balakian is the author of six books of poems including June-tree: New and Selected Poems 1974-2000 (HarperCollins) and Ziggurat (Chicago, 2010); his memoir Black Dog of Fate won the PEN/Albrand Prize. His new book of poems is Ozone Journal to be published next year. He directs creative writing at Colgate.