O—words uttered by Mevlüt Mert Altıntaş who assassinated the Russian ambassador at an art exhibition in Ankara, Turkey, on the eve of December 19, 2016
BY SHAHÉ MANKERIAN
Read by Jeff Ward
I lost my first tooth in Aleppo.
Mother and I scampered in a maze
of cobblestones. The echoes
from her heels reverted the eyes
of backgammon players on rooftops.
She hopped over the makeshift
crutch of the limbless beggar.
His urine smelled of persimmons.
The stray dog howled at the sashay
of Mother’s gingham skirt;
I scurried behind her toward the bell
tower of Forty Martyrs Church.
If you want straight teeth, you must
place your canine in the cracks
of the Cathedral. But my teeth
came out crooked. I have rotten
back molars. I’ve learned to smile
without showing teeth.