(1955 / Istanbul)

The Photograph And The Watch

It is the year nineteen sixty-five, I have
one hand in my granddad's and a balloon in the other.
Machka, the bus stop at Tashlik, clearly a cold winter's day.

A frown on my face. Odd - when my wishes were his command.
Perhaps the balloon wasn't quite the colour I wanted,
perhaps it wasn't a balloon I had demanded at all.

The unhappiness would have lasted but a minute or two.
I may have wept, put him in a fluster, and we would then
have sauntered, smiling, down the sloping streets.

Yet now unhappiness stays remembered. It endures. Rankles.
I turn thirty-four today listening with a weary smile
as it ticks with unflinching regularity:

Granddad's old timepiece:
International Watch Company.

Translation: 2014, Roni Margulies

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