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8.35 a.m.
I wedge between an armpit and a belly just as the metal doors slide shut.
There’s a collective let go of sucked breaths and the gaps between bodies close in.
Snug, dazed, slithering in each other’s fluids.
Infused with burnt rubber, morning breaths, unwashed hair and hastily splashed colognes.
A tin of human sardines moving at 110km/hr.
Digging into the plush soles of my polished leather loafers I push upwards raising my face above the swaying bent necks, their silent screens.
Clenched fists in pockets, I close my eyes.

 

I think of the fat balik fillets stuffed in ekmek near the waters of Eminönü.
Of Galata tower across the shimmering Bosphorus, of my sun-burnt feet in fraying sandals caked in dust.
Of the day, I chose to come back another day to taste the snack and walk up the tower; another day after payday.
I think of spices in the air, bare lips and Shabir’s mera mann kehne laga.
Of empty days, of winding alleys.
Of open, free palms in Turkey.

 

‘Personal Banker’ read on the card, she asks of my financial future plans.
Shows me options, numbers and returns.
2-year, 5-year, 15-year plans with pictures of warm rustic kitchen, shinny cars and graceful old people.
I look, wring my manicured fingers in thought.
Calculating. I ask if any give return on time?
Perhaps a day.
A day to wander back to Constantinople, to finish eating what I didn’t spend my teaching lira on.
Few hours to sit near the pier, to listen to the line tujh se hi to judi zindagi on repeat. To be in love with myself again.

 

whereisshyamni@gmail.com

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