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Poem

Roni Margulies

Burcu, Yonca and Defne

I walk down the Dordtselaan almost every day
to buy bread and cigarettes at Albert Heijn’s,
and malodorous French cheese, dark
Belgian beers and cold pork products.
 
Once, Burcu was the girl at the checkout,
before her Yonca, and Defne before her.
Each with shiny a name-tag on a lapel.
The only words I say are “Dank je wel”.
 
Today, Burcu saw my many packs of ham,
looked at me, stammered, was unsure, then
deciding finally that I must be Turkish,
“I’m sorry,” she said, “this is all pork.”
 
“I  know, as we can’t buy it back home
I often yearn for it, that’s why” I said.
“Who is ‘we’?” I thought to myself
as I slowly made my way to the flat.
 
Would the thought have crossed her mind,
looking with tired eyes as I walked away:
“He’s not Dutch, I can tell, that’s easy.
But what is he? That’s a harder code to crack.”

Burcu, Yonca ve Defne

Burcu, Yonca ve Defne

Dordtselaan’dan aşağı yürüyüp iki günde bir
Albert Heijn’dan ekmek ve sigara alıyorum,
ve yaşlı Fransız peynirleri, çeşitli içkiler,
ve türlü türlü domuz ürünleri.
 
Son gittiğimde Burcu duruyordu kasada,
bir öncekinde Yonca, birinde Defne.
Bir isim etiketi her birinin yakasında.
Ben “Dank je wel” diyorum sadece.
 
Dün Burcu jambon paketlerine baktı,
durakladı, bana baktı, emin olamadı,
Türk olduğuma kanaat getirdi sonunda.
“Abi,” dedi, “bu aldıkların domuz.”
 
“Biliyorum,” dedim, “Bizde yok ya,
o yüzden aldım. Özlüyorum bazen.”
“Biz kim?” diye düşündüm sonra,
eve doğru yavaş yavaş yürürken.
 
Burcu da düşünmüş müdür acaba,
sıkıntıyla ardım sıra bakarken:
“Hollandalı olmadığı belli de,
nereli olduğu biraz zor bir mesele.”
Close

Burcu, Yonca and Defne

I walk down the Dordtselaan almost every day
to buy bread and cigarettes at Albert Heijn’s,
and malodorous French cheese, dark
Belgian beers and cold pork products.
 
Once, Burcu was the girl at the checkout,
before her Yonca, and Defne before her.
Each with shiny a name-tag on a lapel.
The only words I say are “Dank je wel”.
 
Today, Burcu saw my many packs of ham,
looked at me, stammered, was unsure, then
deciding finally that I must be Turkish,
“I’m sorry,” she said, “this is all pork.”
 
“I  know, as we can’t buy it back home
I often yearn for it, that’s why” I said.
“Who is ‘we’?” I thought to myself
as I slowly made my way to the flat.
 
Would the thought have crossed her mind,
looking with tired eyes as I walked away:
“He’s not Dutch, I can tell, that’s easy.
But what is he? That’s a harder code to crack.”

Burcu, Yonca and Defne

I walk down the Dordtselaan almost every day
to buy bread and cigarettes at Albert Heijn’s,
and malodorous French cheese, dark
Belgian beers and cold pork products.
 
Once, Burcu was the girl at the checkout,
before her Yonca, and Defne before her.
Each with shiny a name-tag on a lapel.
The only words I say are “Dank je wel”.
 
Today, Burcu saw my many packs of ham,
looked at me, stammered, was unsure, then
deciding finally that I must be Turkish,
“I’m sorry,” she said, “this is all pork.”
 
“I  know, as we can’t buy it back home
I often yearn for it, that’s why” I said.
“Who is ‘we’?” I thought to myself
as I slowly made my way to the flat.
 
Would the thought have crossed her mind,
looking with tired eyes as I walked away:
“He’s not Dutch, I can tell, that’s easy.
But what is he? That’s a harder code to crack.”
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Stichting Van Beuningen Peterich-fonds
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Hendrik Muller fonds
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J.E. Jurriaanse
Literature Translation Institute of Korea
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