Katherine Gekker, four poems

Near Meander River, Near Miletus

A blue tiller’s curved prongs

rust toward red in some

farmer’s abandoned

field. One beetle crawls

along a scarred furrow, a doughboy

in a trench, no way to turn around,

no way to climb out,

the only way – forward

Each step limits the next

step’s choice

or expands it, temple

or field, fallen columns

and ruined gods –

these are and are not dialectics here

in Meander’s alluvium

Ruins surround us,

thin dogs prowl a barren

tourist stop, its

oranges, warm coke, no


For the first time in my life

I part my hair on the left,

stumble past myself,

unrecognizable, in mirrors. No one here

knows me, including me.

I need to lie in wait to see myself

One coriander- and cumin-stained

chickpea lies on the ancient

soil. If I were hungrier

I would pick it up