the cracks in the walls of Istanbul purge

themselves of cowardice every full moon.

the apprehension seeps into the atmosphere

and into my skin, tanning it just the right shade of confusion.


i want to strip the city of its 1000 mosques

and crumble them to rubble.

their divine majesty whispers tu es sofia - you are wise.


and my teeth can't take this anymore,

the way the mortar between the bricks

reminds me of mistakes that only i took

the time to notice.


je ne suis pas sofia ­­- i am not wise.

i am chattel chartered between each of Istanbul's bending limbs;

i am not practiced in the art of forgiveness.

you cannot take me places.


i absorb nothing.

the span of nights between every full moon

under the Turkish sky is empty.


i have not learned how to value promises.

i am only skilled in the craft of bodies:

flesh sketched within ribcages and

apologies drawn out on forearms

are the only form of nostalgia i know.


every rising sun in the heart of these bricks

is the marking of my fear.

and as i chant curses to the horizon day after day,

Istanbul's walls remind me that i am not welcome here.


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