Experience the Wealth of Fabulous Writing
Last Dusk of Ramadan
by Nancy Louise Cook
Nancy Louise Cook, Traveling through Turkey
Nancy Cook is a social practice writer. She currently lives in St. Paul, Minnesota, where she teaches art, serves as flash fiction editor for Kallisto Gaia Press, and runs “The Witness Project” (a free community writing workshop for underrepresented voices).
Twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize, she has been awarded grants from, but not limited to: the Minnesota State Arts Board, the National Parks Arts Foundation, the Mayo Clinic, Minnesota Humanities Center, and Integrity Arts and Culture. She is particularly interested in exploring the intersections of geography, history, and cultural heritage in her work.
The sun traces
patterns of colorful head scarves and trailing hijabs,
follows fine silk threads to imported Nikes and leather sandals
crafted up north in Bursa, wraps its warmth around the women and
their mysterious thoughts.
The sun massages
the pale pink dome of Hagia Sophia, the spires of
the great Blue Mosque, the caramelized stone of Topkapi –
which once sheltered the Sultan’s harem, his armies, and all his
The sun fires
the canvas roof of the Grand Bazaar, heats the oils and spices
trapped inside, illumines the blue-white tiles, brazen with tulips and
scarlet carnations – symbols of faithfulness and desire, that say welcome
at a hammam door.
The sun glazes
gentle swells of the Golden Horn, drifting tides of the Marmara Sea and
the Bosphorus Straits; high above Galata Bridge, its mantle of light breathes
and sways, as it dazzles, distracts, and deceives, while scammers tell flattering tales
to unwise tourists.
The sun rises
early and late; it is a call to worship, nestles the echoes of chants
softly rendered, as they pass through warm, still air, from minaret to minaret,
skimming over rivers, sweeping past traffic, entering the shaded windows of every
The sun bursts
in terrifying memories from the chambers of flaring guns,
explodes in televised images of retaliation and war, ignites
flashbacks that burn in the hearts of survivors and innocents, and
The sun is
the city’s prayer as it skips over cobbles on narrow city streets, floats
on a just wind from mosque to mosque, counsels patience as it slowly descends
over every public park and green space where, this year – as for centuries before –
on this last dusk of Ramadan, fasting families of faith with their lovingly prepared picnics
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