First minute of dark, last hour of light

Last light from a scorched day draws away. First the chips in the marble, the cracks in the blistered paint fill with it—as if it spills like the contents of a stone pitcher poured sideways across the surfaces. Green goes opaque and blue bleeds to black. In Istanbul night rises, not falls, the way rusty water burbles up a backed-up drain, as if shadows are substantial enough to become liquid, swirl higher, higher, and fill the valley of streets, turning them into a basin of darkness to be upended when the time is right. Meanwhile the pavements, the storefronts are splashed cool with hoses. A new air washes fresh through the lanes while lawless hounds patter fringe roads, bark in answer to the calls from quivering minarets, as docile natures furl like the sails on harbored boats. Cars sputter and boom, blast in the echoing streets. Climb the hills, catch the last beams as they kindle a final flicker on the opposite shore. Europe’s face darkens as the flood snaps at her ear.