Art consists of limitation. The most beautiful part of every picture is the frame.

G.K. Chesterton

This summer I am going to sleep a night

on the wooden frame of a painting

I received from a girl

who was scared of the wind.

I will sleep lightly though

lest I turn over in my sleep

and slide down into the depths

of the orange Bosporus.

But if I did slide down to its bottom

what a wonderful twist of fate it would be

if after I lost all hope of salvation

i became entangled in the nets of Sardinian fishermen

praying for the intercession of St Nicholas

as they pulled me up out of the water

in the nick of time.

Can you imagine my relief

as they docked at the pier

and as I stepped out in my wet clothes

to walk the streets of the Great City.

I would pause at a lighted window on my way to vespers

and listen in and hear a baker

offer an old and tired stone mason

his exegesis on the apocalypse of St John

while he retrieved loaves of bread

from a wood fire oven.

On such a night

our eyes,

yours and mine would meet for the first time

beside a candle stand in Agia Sophia

and as we shared a flask of red wine at a tavern

we would fall in love and decide on impulse

to sell everything we owned

and join a band of Arab merchants

to travel with them beyond the frame of the painting

to Venice, to Alexandria, to Rome.

We would sit hunched over on our camels

as we climbed up onto the wooden frame,

weighed down,

me by my clothes still damp from the salt water

you by the gravity of your bold decision to join me.

And as the orange of the sky faded under grey brush strokes

you would nostalgically look over your shoulder

at Constantinople basking in the moonlight

and I captivated by the Silk Road laid out ahead

would marvel at its endless roll of shining white fabric

glowing like jasmine in the dark.