That Autumn Was Abundant
by Marjorie Agosín
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
A multitude of lights upon the holy minarets,
A Jewish tailor also took refuge in Istanbul
Also another small Jewish city
Among the thresholds of history.