To Ilhan by Kelly Davis

Twenty-six years you’ve been waiting
at the bottom of your dark well,
writing poems that shine like stars.
In February 2020 we sat in London,
listening to your words, watching a film about you.
People read tributes, your cousin sang.
Your friend Erkut performed
an incantation, draped in a sheet,
like a strange bird.
He lent us his wings,
flew us 3000 kilometres
to Silivri, Istanbul.
I’ve never met you but that night
I felt the distance shrink,
as if I could stroke your cheek.

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