Amber Melissa Turkin


I don’t know much about either
but the Buddhist monk and the rain
in Seattle are both persistent, and mostly
quiet. Steady. The line between
enlightenment and apathy seems

blurred. Now, when the rain comes
I am not happy or sad. It’s
nothing. My mother tells me
when I was a child I would throw my
puzzle across the room, unable to
fit the square in the circle space
and frustrated beyond

trying. I quietly place my sharp-edged
heart into the base of yours: round and
open. I am careful to avoid
the edge so you won’t
know we aren’t a good fit.

I am much better at patterns than shapes.
That’s why I know where to touch but
not always how. Soft. Hard? That’s why
I use them in speech, in my morning routine, in
how I drink too much and worry enough to push
you away. I am embarrassed but not
surprised. Patterns seldom change.

The Buddha says we must release expectations
to avoid suffering, yet there must be
exceptions: the forecast and its repetition
tell  you exactly what to expect and where.
I know to anticipate my wet, cold, being

alone ………….. and yet, here you come
with your novel addition to a well
worn pattern: open arms, a rubber
heart, chance enough to change it all.



drapes over the buildings, as if it were a veil
or a bra laid out to air dry. Two springs ago
in Idaho, you doused the wood
in gasoline. I doused myself in wine. We
were the ones who went up in flames. Both
are irrelevant now.

Through my window the chartreuse haze
makes honest vows: to linger
in an intangible way. to choke out of necessity –
perhaps gratification. Who is at fault
for inhaling smoke in the absence of air?
Absence is the most honest promise. I build
a home inside of yours.

Months accumulate. Scent of clean laundry
on a rainy day mingles in the space between
dumpsters in an alleyway north of Seattle.
Sometimes I see you in passing, sometimes
in dreams: our proximity is formidable.
Rain shimmers like diamonds
on a fresh web. The fly
unremarkable in her silk dress, happy simply
to be held. All time ever does is pass.

© Amber Melissa Turkin

Amber Melissa Turkin is a poet and essayist from Baltimore, Maryland. She won poetry awards at both UMBC and HCC, in addition to reading at the Baltimore Book Festival. She currently resides in Seattle, Washington with her rescue dog, Feta. Her poems are driven by an insatiable hunger for food, love, and above all: understanding.

Back to Main Loch Raven Review Site