¹⁴ Watching kites through the window.
Mardin rises above the plain: houses of stone, clear-cut, chiseled, antique churches and mosques, lone faces from every window following every step in the courtyards, in the hallways, up and down the beige limestone stairs. We do not understand most words in the market: they use dialects rather than Turkish, and from closed doors Aramaic and Syriac bubble into the street. When the wind rises in Mardin, a kite sprouts from every roof.
We have a kite made and I take it with me as I head further South.
I am taken to the city of Nisibis. Neoclassical Kurdish architecture has been erected these past years along the ruins of an antique university, ancient Assyrian Churches; tea houses, coffee houses, full through the afternoon. Kurdish families live on both sides of the divide; minefields; and children playing football next to them.
I had the fantasy of flying my kite over the border. I waited days for a wind that wouldn’t come. Shortly before I departed, I gave the kite to my host, a customs officer.
I headed East, to Cizre, the city of Noah.
A few days later, I called my host to ask if he had managed to fly the kite. He told me there was still no wind and that he had given it to his nephew who lived a bit further North. I wondered if the kite would continue traveling and if it would ever know the wind.
Years have passed and I still wonder. War has went there
Who knows what remains of the kite
And who can tell me today what is left of these houses, of the tea-houses, stone-houses and streets, what have
CURFEWS, OPERATIONS, CLEANSING, TERRORISTS, COUNTER-INSURGENCY
the telephone numbers have been lost and the email addressed do not answer
Who can tell me if kites are still flown
or are the winds too strong
do they take everything away