atop büyükada

atop büyükada, away from the boats and the water and the people,
a field long forgotten breaks the line of trees.

the field stands lonely, stagnant, thick with heavy air.
white waves of heat radiate from clay and brown grass

asil, stands alone

still, possibly sleeping, not quite living

a cloud of flies surrounds him blurring his features
pulsing.

asil stares ahead.

 i force my way through the flies, raising my hands to protect my face.
asil does not break from his reverie as I touch his ribs,

counting his age with my fingers.

 the horse does not stir as my hand works through his tangled mane or when i ask him ‘why are you here?  what is it that you see?’

i ask if he dare attempt a great escape, to leave the heat of the field, the flies
to move freely about the island, to seek cool shade and cool water

asil does not respond.

the flies hiss at my suggestions.

sweat beads at my wrists and pools at my lower back.  my torso is fully drenched, and my neck burns at the touch of the sun panning over the bosphorus.

i place my hand upon his shoulder
his threadbare shoulder
he turns his eyes to me

and asks me to go.

i leave asil.
the living cloud of flies abandons him and follows me.

attracted to the sweat of something more alive
as i leave the long forgotten field atop büyükada.

* * *

büyükada is an island in the province of istanbul, turkey.
asil is an arabian word for a purebred horse.
the bosphorus is a strait that forms part of the border between europe and asia.

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