All that remains
of the road of silken glory
is a quadrangular arcade
bearing a bronze placard
“Silk Market” in Turkish and English.
We enter on the second level and are
amazed by the array of shop windows
full of bright silks.
Over the rail of the arcade passage
we look down onto a courtyard
canopied with trees,
that populate the ground level
revealing here and there
a tangle of several coffee shops.
Small round tables with
brightly colored clothes and cups
host shoppers who sit, rest, and talk after shopping.
We plunge into the crowded shops
As we wait our turn
for a salesgirl’s attention, we
watch gaggles of
young Muslim girls
pull on scarves
at the mirrors and marvel at the transformations made
with each flashing bit of silk.
The more modest glide
in and out of dressing rooms
so as not to reveal their hair to another shopper.
I smile at a brown-eyed beauty
who has donned a blue shimmer scarf–
“That turquoise silk is just right for
you, it frames your face
with the beauty of both sea and sky.”
The salesgirl translates.
The girl smiles.
Her friends giggle loudly.
As we leave with our own purchases in hand,
we turn and see her purchasing that very scarf.
She looks up and shyly waves at us.
The Cat Scarf
Cats of Istanbul are,
Residents set out bowls of food and
these well-fed cats purr welcome to all.
We found a scarf
replete with feline images.
Meowed joys draped her shoulders
Their shapes soft
The scarf the softness of
Istanbul’s smiling cats,
Their fur as soft
as a sultan’s silk cushions
where once they rested
after a hard day of mousing
in Topkapi palace.
We could not bring home a cat
so we purchased the cat
scarves in their stead.