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A sultry wind circles the Anatolian plain.  It rushes along the Melindiz River and slides down the Ihlara Canyon stirring the dust of Hittites and Medes.  Wind gusts scour cave cathedrals, rustle parched prayers petitioned down centuries by now muted tongues.Image

Air stirs through monasteries, brushes Byzantine icons painted in transepts of faith carved in stone. Graffiti scars saints and seals of Persian kings. Crumbling apostles sift down on cold altars.Image

Gods erase Gods in long-defaced naves guarded by martyrs blinded by fear of the Evil Eye.

Vandalism scrawled in Greek across the Annunciation, the Transfiguration and the Crucifixion.

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Christ and Mary signed by warriors and lovers and by tourists descending from diesel-powered buses…Chinese, Malaysians, Scots and Brazilians…all of them speaking in modern tongues.  They form new tableaus frozen in snapshots against peeling friezes of the Holy Ghost

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A woman bent in a furrowed field, turns the soil with a heavy spade and pauses to draw her hijab tighter against the gust of coiling air.  Her gods hold dominion over this land where a man lays down a pruning hook under the crooked apricot tree and faces Mecca and the second call to prayer

Just over false borders, Syrians, Iraqis, Afghans and Americans war across a land where sinew and gristle grind teeth and bone. Kings battle generals and so many Holy Words become ash on hot summer winds.

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