By Suha Khan
A pondering over the wanderer alone in their head overseas, which begs the question: What is home to the traveler?
Eyes wide open on the foreigner’s oasis, Faces splashed with Bosporus blues, Strips of sunlight fading as we turn West. Shut my eyes closed facing the basin and, Tilt my head up for a kiss from the sun. Invisible string tugging on my toe, Cue the retreat from the refuge. Gaze at the profiles of strangers, The lines, the wrinkles, the faded hues, Glowing under our one pale moon, Journeying round and round. Look for a reflection in the water, To find rippling waves and perpetual sky. Pause for a drink from the present, But my throat lingers dry. Eyes forward and wide, Snap a picture, memorialize it forever, The Last Meal, hourglass dwindling.
An entirely new culture had emerged when I began writing this poem, one where people covered their noses and mouths, avoided shaking hands, and prized toilet paper as a luxury. I spent those long days wondering and dreaming and reminiscing. Nostalgia for everything had taken over. I questioned every way of life before the pandemic, especially the fact that I had been able to travel to Istanbul only six months before it had altered the course of the world. Those three days spent overseas in October 2019 remained unforgettable in this time of nothingness. My parents had always told me to savor every moment abroad, and this stuck with me then and has proven essential now. Back in Turkey, my time felt so everlasting yet finite. It was as though I was floating in a bubble, high up in the sky, yet a poke was inevitable. This poem reflects the complex emotions I felt throughout this trip I still yearn to teleport back to, finally completed exactly a year later in October 2020, a new world.
Suha Khan is currently in her junior year at high school in Manhattan, NY where she studies technical theater. She enjoys chocolate, film and Mitski—her essentials. Born and raised in New York, Suha yearns to travel, preferably in a pandemic-free world. When not mindlessly scrolling through the depths of social media, she reads, writes and creates.