View of the Marketplace

by E.K. Mortenson

This would have been, as near as I can tell, about where my small table would have stood, next to the window, overlooking the marketplace where the vendors would haggle with grandmothers or where the fruit sellers would slip a fig or dried apricot into the hand of a child and wink. I would have been on the third floor, looking down, aroma of roasting almonds drifting upward. Now, I lean against what remains of the crumbling wall. I see the bus that carries mothers and children from the settlements splinter into fiery shrapnel. I hear the voices of the merchants gone startlingly silent. From underfoot I choose a scrap of paper that might have been from yesterday’s news, or from the news of the day before that, and on it I begin to write a description of the torso of the child’s doll I had kicked carelessly when entering: fleshy pink garish against blackish char.


E.K. Mortenson is an MFA candidate at Western Connecticut State University. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Third Wednesday, RATTLE, Defenestration, Chantarelle’s Notebook, The Centrifugal Eye, Connecticut Review, Red Clay Review, Broken Bridge Review, and Connecticut River Review (for which he is now Assistant editor). He was the 2008 recipient of the Leslie Leeds Poetry Prize. He lives in Stamford, CT with his wife, son, and two cats.