The Bored Wolves Inn
The Bored Wolves Inn
Selcan Peksan Reads “The Second Year (Elixir)” in Turkish

Selcan Peksan Reads “The Second Year (Elixir)” in Turkish

In it together
Poet Selcan Peksan (self-portrait).

The beginning of Selcan Peksan’s Slippage (Bored Wolves, 2022, translated from the Turkish by Anna Wood, drawings by Maja Daneková), a post-apocalyptic poem cycle that takes the reader beyond the collapse of civilization, was poetically reconstructed by Selcan from diaries she kept contemporaneous to Istanbul’s first lockdown, in March 2020, and a veterinarian’s simultaneous misdiagnosis predicting her beloved dog, Maya, had little time left to live.

The vet was, and would be proven, wrong. But the worry was debilitating, as in the poem “Nine Months Later (Worst Fear),” set at a projected moment of encroaching infestation and victual spoilage throughout the city: “My worst fear is losing the dog / but that my own fear will frighten the dog / is even worse than my worst fear. / When I say the dog I mean MAYA.”

In “The Second Year (Elixir),” read by the poet above in the original Turkish, Selcan struggles to maintain the balance between providing and requiring care and some sense of security. There is, however, reciprocity in the last dry room in the apartment, transferred between poet and pup via shared tail.

One last note: as humanity hastens its own demise in Slippage, all proper nouns (e.g. a corrosively wilting “eiffel tower”) are stripped of their capitalization. Maya is the exception. So much so that she’s MAYA, articulated with urgency and love.


The Second Year (Elixir)

Without human intervention
when the first storm hits
rains trigger a cascade of events
water inundates coastal cities
fire and floodwater rage unchecked
manmade products are reduced to ash
nitrogen builds up for fire flood and plants
to feed on.

On four separate tracks she arrives
curling up next to me
when we lie spine to spine
I have a dog tail.

I give her the heart medicine with salmon oil
vitamin e and diuretics
pumpkin purée
bone broth with marrow and eggshells.

Fluid fills her lungs.

As we gather our wet belongings
to move to the front room

I say MAYA
MAYA I say
if you weren’t here
I never would have lasted this long.

She wags our tail.
Poet, pup, and their tail. Drawing by Maja Daneková.