Academic journal article TriQuarterly

At Cleopatra Bay,

Academic journal article TriQuarterly

At Cleopatra Bay,

Article excerpt

where the great yachts pause, and the smaller craft, the Turkish boatmen say She stopped here once,

and I struggle to see the fire of her barge standing among the outboard motors, the parasailors, the daytrippers,

as if she and her straining mariners might drift from the Mediterranean sky englobed in gold, or better still

explode from the cold where the sunken cities loll, her handsome imperious face,

with its lithe cruel brows, tipped eyes, lips that taste of bitter leaves, unmoved by our futuristic engine-grind.

Three thousand years - a splash of centuries! - and the bay is still the same, the rocky coves where dabs of fish

stitch little seams of light and dark, the feathery southern pines that stoop above the streams they shadow

as if searching for new images through mirrors of themselves, the spit of sunstruck island where perhaps

she might have walked an hour among trivial grasses, armguards flashing as she took the measure of her men -

Then Ahmet breaks the spell: Everywhere you turn around here there's another place they swear she stopped:

every other inlet brags it's Cleopatra Bay! …

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