This loneliness could have a name, an Esther or a Miriam.

Regiments fall to the ground with an infant’s cry.

Words hardly fit between water and salt.

Under the flag at half-mast, hundreds of hoarse voices

 

laugh, pricked by the splinters of language.

This loneliness is vast, bottomless, and so chilling

that even a stranger turns away. Restless children wander

out of the school, stand by the sea, as if in front of a tribunal.

 

Dried tree branches crackle in the air like transmitters.

Somebody keeps calling out the name of the city turned into ashes.

This loneliness could be named Sevgil or Selima.

The names of the abandoned are salty and deep.

 

She comes out, fumbles with the knot

of her black headscarf; her lips are pale.

Who is there, she says, do you read me? Does anyone hear us?

Just a moment ago somebody called out our names.

 

Do you read me, son, try and listen to me, to me —

they have all left the shore, look for them in the sea.