By Selin Toledo

Since I was little,

I dreamed of holding you in my left hand

and drinking a spoonful of Marmara.


Up on the hill for an expedition that ended with a dog gang chasing us,

I saw you, almost from top.

Standing from the naked skin of our island’s hunchback,

you were something else:

not a spoon, but a sleeping Monster of Ness.


I have never touched you, nor anyone I know personally.

Because you are owned by one man only.


I have swum near you, freely.

Cause your coasts are cleaner than ours.


You are the protagonist of most expensive balconies.

How many glasses of lemonade have I held in your presence...

How many times have I counted the stars while you were sleeping...


You go to sleep every night,

under your navy blue blanket

with a lullaby by the moon.

And we watch, till you fall asleep, like a baby.


You wake up early in the morning,

give a distant kiss, soaking gently our island’s cheeks.


You’re the only one who’ll never leave,

from one summer to another;

“cause you’re too busy”

or cause “what to do in this boring place anyway?”

You stay there,

a true patriot of Marmara. 


You stay,

unmoved, peaceful green child before the vast grey city of chaos. 

You stay,

fixed in our summer view, fixed in our holiday cravings during winter. 

My symbol of home and childhood freedom.

You stay, 

as if someone put you right there,

just for us.


Selin Toledo was born and raised in Istanbul. She received her Bachelor's in Biology at the University of Barcelona, Spain. She published her work on fungal ecology in well-known scientific journals at Cardiff University, UK and later got her Master's from Humboldt State University in California, USA where she published work on paleobotany. She is currently living in Istanbul, where she contributes to magazines in English, Turkish and Italian. She is also an editor in Avlaremoz and a regular contributor to the Judeo-Espanyol (Ladino) pages of Şalom newspaper and El Amaneser.