When I dream serpentine, 18, and lost in Istanbul again…

by Alexis Rhone Fancher


it’s always the dream of the illusive snake ring at the Grand Bazaar. Heavy, rose gold, with emerald eyes. It gripped my finger. Would not let go. It is for a man, the turbaned merchant protested, tried to snatch it back. But I loved how it encircled, insinuated itself up to my knuckle. The way the orbs glinted, the entice of its tongue. It spoke of a jeweled future. The merchant, impatient, wanted a decision, wanted too much. Money was tight. Adornment an invitation to be robbed in the confusion of Istanbul’s perilous streets. It was a cruel century for a woman on her own. The ring, I told myself, was of no consequence, an extravagance, not a metaphor or a child. Yet, my life since that decision: rudderless. The abandoned ring a portend for each play-it-safe in my future, the uncertainty that accompanied every bad choice, each panicked dream. Tonight, I’ll reconnoiter the bazaar, eighteen again, only smarter, self-possessed. The ring’s snake eyes will flash an SOS through the labyrinth of narrow stalls, bolts of silk and brocade commingling with complicated carpets and incense and saffron and huge copper pots. I’ll find it. I’ll buy it and restart my life – erase each timidity, each dull mistake, the maze of shops an elaborate loss, a guilt trip, the scent of sandalwood in the air.





Alexis Rhone Fancher is published in Best American Poetry, Rattle, Hobart, Plume, Verse Daily, and elsewhere. She’s authored five poetry collections, most recently, Junkie Wife (Moon Tide Press, 2018), and The Dead Kid Poems (KYSO Flash Press, 2019). A multiple Pushcart Prize nominee, Alexis is poetry editor of Cultural Weeklywww.alexisrhonefancher.com




One thought on “When I dream serpentine, 18, and lost in Istanbul again…

  1. Susan Tepper says:

    It’s lovely in the way of exotica, when we are young and searching. I felt myself there, felt the ring on my finger, you made me want to own it too.

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