THE TAXIS OF ISTANBUL
Finding the hotel was an adventure.
Unfortunately, each time we return to it
from any distance
is another adventure.
The taxis whirl and spin around us
like yellow autumn leaves,
making us dizzy with their coming and going.
When we finally signal one,
we struggle with a language so different from any we know
we feel as though we are visiting the city of Babel,
The swarthy driver listens to our directions
with a gradually increasing mixture of desperation
as we talk to him in English and Spanish
and show him a map to take us to our hotel.
Frustration mounts; the driver asks passersby,
other drivers --
Once we take a young Turkish man to a hotel near ours,
so he can indicate to our driver
how to reach
the Hotel Poem.
And once, only once! we mention the Blue Mosque,
gesture left, right, left --
and we are at the hotel.
As we pull up in front of the door
both of us break into spontaneous applause,
bringing a shy smile to the face of our taxi driver
and a puzzled look backward at the unusual tourists
as he drives away --
since it is beyond our linguistic powers to explain to him
why we are so delighted.
SUE LITTLETON: Poems of Istanbul
POETRYREPAIRS 13.02: 015