Sarp Sozdinler

Baba

The day before she died, my mother told me that I should plant an oak tree in her homeland to make up for the damage she caused all this time by breathing. We were occupying the opposite corners of her hospital room like a pair of edgy boxers on a ring and watching some beauty contest on mute. That night, she didn’t look for once like the sum of her wrinkles under the jaundiced light fixture, that bleak air of old people.

On my way back home, I received the news that her condition got bad off one town and worse off the next, my ears turning at once hot and cold with a deafening zing, the sound of my grieving silence blending with the sound of the nurse’s practiced silence. I tasted my mother’s smell in the first gulp of orange juice that morning, saw her bleeding from the crude edges of my colorful wounds. For days to come, I got drunk and peed under oak trees and only fed on what she would make me eat as a kid. I dreamt of large plumes of smoke at night, or of something melting off the earth merging back with Earth, only in a different shape and color.

The day my son turned nine, we had a fight about synony