I muster strength and pull up emotional reserves.

Collect the kids. Find the shoes.

Don’t lose them while you get your own.

Cloister them in the elevator corners while

piercing eyes watch stray hands and fingers.

Down the stairs. Into the car. Buckled.

The most restful part of the day. Silence.

I have small children.


I muster strength and find the bravado.

Rev the car over the gaping ditch that

the lazy doorman won’t have covered,

up the hill blindly, hoping there are no people or

cars just about to cross my line of vision.

To the corner where the doorman smokes all day

and the bank security man refuses to tell customers

not to leave their cars angled across my street

as I tense my shoulders and breath deeply

hoping I’ll make the turn and not get hit from the left

because I can’t see in that direction either,

for all the double parked cars.

We’re off. Shoulders relax. Sunglasses on.

I live in Turkey.


I muster strength and search in vain for patience.

Avoid the swarms of pedestrians.

Don’t stop when the side view mirror nicks a guy

Close my eyes when the road feels too narrow to pass.

Beep when only my presence (in a car)

reminds everyone THEY ARE ON A STREET!

Find my spot in the parking lot where I’m willing to pay 5mTL

for the 15 minutes I’ll be at the doctor

because taking a taxi or parking on the street requires too much strength.

I live in Turkey.


I muster strength and pray a desperate prayer for grace.

Just squeeze Ella’s hand when she squirms

out of my arms and wrestles free from my grip.

Threaten spankings and bribe with candy when Aidan’s

wildness and monkey behavior reaches embarrassment.

Try to smile when Ella dumps out the tongue depressors

(which shouldn’t have been at arms reach for a one year old!)

and Aidan pulls lose the stethoscope from the wall.

Resist the urge to slap and pull earlobes when Ella takes off

running down one hall corridor and Aidan the other,

when, for a few minutes, all I can hear is wild laughter but see no one.

I have small children.


I muster strength and fight back salty drops.

On the third day in a row the doctor re-explains the directions.

The lab technician rambles off in Turkish medical terminology

and I realize my daughter may have a parasite,

but my misunderstanding has delayed vital test results

and when the lab guy asks if I understand or if English would be better

I refrain from punching him and screaming,

why didn’t you say you knew English!

And as I cross the street to the pharmacy

a man gives Aidan a huge wad of cotton candy without asking.

I live in Turkey.


I muster strength and try to laugh.

A friend stops by.

In the mere minutes that we chat in the entryway

and redirect attention from the monkeys,

Aidan pulls books off the shelf and dumps 50 magazines out of a basket.

Without noticing or detecting the silence as a warning, they continue.

Soon they come into the foyer and noses are black, clothes covered in, what?

The chimney. They’ve climbed into the fireplace.

Shame on me for not watching for 5 minutes.

Score 1 for the monkeys.

The week ends. I tally points. They are winning.


I have small children.

I live in Turkey.

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