Marthe Reed

Three Veiled Women Holding Flowers
after Gulinar Ablat

Veiled women clasp flowers, amber women. Three women wearing red, women with flowers.
Veiled in white silk. In yellow, veiled in red. Silk insinuates itself between breath and air,
between mouth and. A red flower on yellow silk, red ruff of silk against white skin. Three
women draw, do not draw their veils. Three women inhale the scent of flowers, three pairs of
kohl-lined eyes. A gaze refuses to meet mine. Looking away, at flowers, at red silk, at
anything. A smile and a gaze. A suggestion of doubt. Three women glance into the sex of a
red flower and smile gravely. Red lips, black kohl lashes. Black hair held in suspense by a veil
and a brocade cap. Yellow silk insists itself over black hair, over red mouths. No doubt you are
hungry. A flower tastes of honey, a mouth biting into honeyed bread. Warm pastry ladened in
honey. Bees are like that, mouths also. Tasting. Three women, three red flowers. A white veil.
A single yellow veil. A red veil swirled in red. Taste this.

Yekshenba Bazaar

Yellow birds, stars, flit across blue. Village faith a red or fawn headscarf, a cap of white cloth, a
yellow bird. First Buddhist kingdom of Tarim Basin. Hen complaint and clouds of dark
feathers hover in the air. A corner teahouse, arguments warm as black tea. Roasting mutton,
squares of canvas sail above laughter, above blue. Tushlan armies of Tang China, the Khans, of
Tamerlane. Pamir Mountains whisper of Persia, camel caravans, horsemen arrayed in bright red
leather. Old men, beards and black sheepskin hats, haggle, fingers in sleeves, over the price of
silk, a sheep. Zoran Yasem paints. School children in blue caps and blue trousers stare into his
face. A mudbrick wall and a small golden dog. A road stretches from the Yangtze to the
Mediterranean. Bazaar stalls proffer yellow melons, almonds, quince, white mulberries, and
pomegranates. Translating the Taklamakan Desert: Those Going In Never Return. Like yellow
birds, or stars across blue. These round loaves of sheep's milk cheese, flat breads, golden cakes.
A mosque calls people to prayer, sheep scatter through streets, faces lost in the crowd. Nothing
occurs in silence.

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