That autumn was abundant

Translated by Jacqueline Nanfito
That autumn was abundant
In Istanbul the ancient and platinum
Women with their faces covered and discovered

My grandfather arrived on foot to this Ottoman city

From the desolate Sebastopol and from other burned villages,
From the bloody snow.

He spoke about its minarets
Certainly he loved the fields of leaves. Autumn, like a river or
    a glowing bonfire
And I don't know where he went to pray,
Or perhaps he no longer did so in the city of the sultans

But I know in his mouth he carried a needle
Noble metaphor of his trade.

Perhaps he wandered astonished throughout lovely Istanbul
Searching for sustenance or clients
Perhaps inclined, he entered one of the thousand mosques
Where he prayed
While the clocks stood still,
Geographies were erased.
Because the city was merely a golden breeze falling upon the
     leaves

A multitude of lights upon the holy minarets,
My grandfather,

A Jewish tailor also took refuge in Istanbul
Also another small Jewish city
Among the thresholds of history.

 
 

Margorie Agosín, "That autumn was abundant" (translated by Jacqueline Nanfito) from The White Islands. Copyright © 2016 by Margorie Agosín. Reprinted by permission of Swan Isle Press.
Source: The White Islands (Swan Isle Press, 2016)
More Poems by Marjorie Agosín