After a while, Musa stopped reading the headlines and turned toward the cashier, a small woman of thirty whose gray mascara matched Musa’s pants. Merve’s a religious name, he thought, and there’s too much religion in the world as it is, but she wore no ring and he admired how fingers moved over the keys, punching 2274 for potatoes and 5677 for carrots. What a day to be making a stew, he thought abstractly, and grabbed a paper at random and moved toward Merve and her register. He would smile this time, and he would make a joke about politics, something soft that might dazzle her later with its unexpected insight and nuance—perhaps something about typeface or one of the candidate’s hair, for Musa Yılmaz could be clever if he wanted to. But all the while a word kept nudging against his breathing: wrongdance, wrongdance. It nudged, and somehow he knew he had to say it to her even though it didn’t make sense. It was better than politics; it was almost poetry, like something Nazım Hikmet would’ve written in jail. It was iconic. It was eternity and action all in one, and echoed through his body even in silence. Wrongdance—and he took his paper to aisle six and chose canned vegetables, canned pears, and he moved through the cereals and coffees and teas and chocolates. He soared among the sandals and socks and underwear at the far end of the store, and roared with the soft drinks to his left and the chips and peanuts to his right. He bought four steaks and the heaviest chicken he could find, and cherry tomatoes and red peppers and whole mushrooms and corn, ear after ear of corn, and finally seven tubs of ice cream, all the colors of the spectrum in his basket. All of them right there in his little orange basket. He was heavy-leaden; he was tired; he was alive. And he said to Merve—a statement, not a question—you will wrongdance with me. We shall lift each other and look down here where we were, laughing at our concerns of yesterday.
Carl Boon lives in Izmir, Turkey, where he teaches courses in American culture and literature at 9 Eylül University. His poems have appeared in many magazines, including Posit, The Maine Review, and Diagram. A Pushcart Prize nominee, Boon recently edited a volume on the sublime in American cultural studies.