The Old Man

by Mel Kenne

The old man now was I,
and I was he. I eyed him

as Thoreau said I might:
a fact that could be seen

from both sides — some
thing divided sharply by

perception’s cleaver. As
he looked quizzically back

at me from where we each
sat alone, wondering why

we were questioning our-
selves so intently, suddenly

we reached a conclusion:
one of us had to die. Which

one would it be? Who was
the lie? Neither of us could

honestly say if it was he
or the other, for the old man

now was only an eye, looking
into the heart of his brother,

who had also become an eye
that could do nothing but

see himself as a fact standing
before him wanting to be

something more than that simple,
most obvious impossibility.

Mel Kenne

Mel Kenne has six collections of poetry, the most recent of which are Take, published in 2012 by Muse-Pie Press, and Galata’dan / The View from Galata, a bilingual collection in English and Turkish published in 2010 by Yapı Kredi Publishers in Istanbul. His second book, South Wind, won the 1984 Austin Book Award, and in 2010 he was one of the Nazim Hikmet Poetry Award winners. He lives in Eski Foça, on the Aegean coast of Türkiye.





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