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Hagia Sophia

"Byzantium is but the shadow of a whisper"

Published onNov 14, 2021
Hagia Sophia

You don’t sing anymore

your bells don’t ring on Sundays

and your icons don’t chant

when the dawn returns from its

  walk in the dark


Byzantium is but the shadow of a whisper

that holds your hollow ghost like the dead hold 

  their bones


your eyes are dry, for life has escaped

through cracks that were supposed

to show pilgrims parts of a heaven

  that hoped to be yours


But suns set and moons rose,

so many of them that when people stopped counting

  they thought it was an eternity


but you knew better,

the crescent holds no numbers,

no notes, no chimes


Yet, it peeled your name off of the surface of time 

  – letter by letter


I saw them drip 

  one by one 


like grains of sand through the tight throat of an hourglass

and stood wondering, if you’ll recognize it

  when I sigh it to you


Instead, you shrink inside halos

Mary is childless 

Christ is without a cross

  Who will be saved now?


I dreamt my great grandfather 

in front of your gates - weeping

his tears wet my eyes

his hands held my heart in his throat

and I heard the soil sob with souls

that wander through six hundred years 

  of unsang troparions


then, I thought of the time

when God so loved the world that he gave 

  his only son


Saint John couldn’t imagine

what God would do if he had to give 

  his only daughter


Aida Bode is a Pushcart-nominated Albanian poet and writer, whose works have been published online and in print. Visit her website for her extensive publications.

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