Cords of silken blood flow in the peaks
and passes of my body, a traveling
miracle, while I read the news,
all of which barely reaches me—
economies of elections, wars, and
minerals harvested from asteroids
in the celestial commerce of billionaires.
Numb with armchair trade,
I remember the seduction
of the Silk Road. Quieted, I hear
spirit through the flutes of my bones—
the music of the steppes, the tinkle of pots
on your back. I smell the fust of Turkish
rugs on the floor and know
I would walk a thousand miles
to curl up on felt-covered stone with you
and these other traveling strangers, harbored
inside trusted walls, away from danger.
In the morning we finger sunrise apricots
in a copper breakfast bowl
before recommencing our planetary
journey, a mouthful of sweet chai, and I ask
what you know of the soul’s trade—
its breakdowns, its tinkerings
its thieves and swindlers? And you say,
Tonight we will come again to a caravanserai,
a courtyard of companionship, a warm stop
on the long road. Nothing else matters.
Note: One of the thrills of my life was staying with Don, our two children, and my sister in a Caravanserai in Turkey, an outpost along the Silk Road where for centuries caravaners were given three nights free lodging, food and fodder for their animals. It was far from “free” as a hotel when we lodged, but worth every penny to me. These stone fortresses were built in a huge square, with one front portal large enough for camels to pass through. Rooms for sleeping were around the outer edge on the second floor, while service rooms, including a Turkish bath and shops to repair horseshoes, filled the lower floor. In the middle was a courtyard where goods and animals were kept. When we stayed at the Caravanserai in Kuşadası, transformed into a hotel, we dined in the courtyard. The best part of the experience for me was the two-foot thick stone wall that made our room’s window wells large enough for a small child to sleep in. My imagination has never rested since those nights.