Issue > Poetry
Ann Herlong-Bodman

Ann Herlong-Bodman

Ann Herlong-Bodman has published a novel, a sailing memoir and three collections of poetry. Her work has appeared in numerous journals with new poems forthcoming in Atlanta Review and The South Carolina Review. She is a former journalist, travel writer and college teacher whose full-length poetry manuscript was named runner-up in the 2010 SC Poetry Initiative competition. A featured reader at the Piccolo Spoleto Series in Charleston, SC., she lives along the Carolina coast.

Found In Translation

In late July the water here is so calm
you can hardly sail. Sailors call it "coasting."
Water the color of blue sunlight. White goatskin tents.
Brown hills. Sandy beaches. Flowers
doing a curious dance in the water.

Five boys swimming toward your boat, waving
armloads of purple and white bougainvillea—you imagining others
who have been welcomed (or unwelcomed) along this coast—
the Turkestani, the Gobie
out of Mongolia with horses on board.
The Corsicans. The Italians.

At the moment, however, are these boys climbing aboard, 
dripping wet, wide-eyed. You offer towels,
seats in the cockpit, chocolate chip cookies.

You don't pretend to understand their language, just let words fly
back and forth all afternoon.
Gigek. Flower.
Tabak. Plate.
Kozluk. Glasses.
They give a test. You fail.

It's sunset when the boys swim back to shore,

the Mediterranean deepening blue to purple to black,

flames bursting on hillsides, families on holiday
passing down traditions and stories. Except tonight

the stories are about you, the teacher who
flunked the test. You in your bunk forming
words for no one in particular, words
silent, drifting across water.

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