Things Are Not as They Should Be

Damla Ozdemir
3 min readJun 15, 2021

I
Things are not as they should be.
Draperies are hung low, crooked-like,
Melting more, the more I look.
Immobilized ornaments float though materials,
Atom by atom, twisting into twins of themselves.
Gray flickers into dirty white, and out again,
Into a cleaner blandness.
The sprawling arrangements of flowers in the vase
Dance too close, no room for Jesus.
What will we do?
The petals are tarnished and perfect.
Their awkward dance is a rehearsal of life
For its actual act,
Not yet begun. One day soon. No one knows when.
Where is the stagehand?
Where is the theatre crew?
Or perhaps I have it wrong, so then
Where is the Director of Photography
Who messed up the framing,
Making my eyes ache from looking
At things I can’t snap to grid?

II
The tag shows on my pillow.
I want to scream, I scream within,
But I take it all out on the frayed edges of the dangling piece,
Tearing some more. One day soon, it will fall
Off and off I’ll go to heaven
When I use my pillow,
All untagged, undragging, and just perfect.

III
The bottle on my nightstand
Has some unfamiliar liquid
I must have bought,
Or poured from a vessel of some sort.
It looks like nothing I have in my body,
But I can’t see into my body.
What if it’s there,
Lying in wait,
Some liquid I drank from a bottle by my bed,
Close at hand,
In my sleepy stupor,
Halfway through the night?
What will we do?
I can taste it now,
A familiar taste, tinged with regret.
I shouldn’t have done that.
But it smells also of roses, so who bought it?
If I did and forgot, I’m getting sad.
I discredit myself.
Otherwise, I must have an admirer
Who drops in with gifts when I sleep.
How close have they gotten to kissing me?
Is this bottle for a magic potion?
Did I forget what I did?
It looks new, unopened,
Like the bottles I buy, of essential oils
to sniff when things go awry,
but this one looks more like magic.
Though it smells of roses,
It also smells as an unknown thing would,
If picked up at a shop
To identify its contents, ending distraught.
No vocabulary to aid the tongue.
That bottle would smell of regret.
What have I done?

IV
The sun looks at me but it stares in disbelief
as if abandoned by its moon.
I would like to say,
It has always been this way,
But he is adamant that this is new,
This feeling of being an inconvenience,
A presence that dampens the shine
Of pretty things.
I would like to say, it is because
You shine too bright,
But his sulk says he believes
He is damned by his negatives,
Sucking the positives
Into a moon-shaped hole at his core,
In his glowing heart.
He is lopsided, too, today,
All bent under the toil of disappointment.
He shines a different shade,
Which suits the grass better,
And flatters more the feasts of the bulbul birds.
The change is the mortal side of him,
Shadowed over in the blinding light
Of perpetual, identical forms,
Day in, day out.
Perhaps the moon lacks its craters tonight,
Or it looks more like cheese, as it should,
And it sparkles, a separate shade,
Gaining its torch yet from that same sun
Whom she has shunned from the other side of space.
As the Earth, I am the veil they pull in between themselves
When they need to fill the emptiness, to recuperate,
Am the obstacle they overcome
When they play with their cosmic lust,
Am used, enjoying the heat and the view,
And blistering and shivering in turn,
With nothing to do but witness
The workings of the celestial spheres.

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Damla Ozdemir

Duke University ’23 w/ a degree in Linguistics 🏫 Worldschooling/Unschooling ✏️ 9 countries, 3 continents, 2 boarding schools, 10 languages 🏫