Honnah Patnode

my friends all say nobody knows how many people 

live in this city, it’s so crowded, it’s so busy, the streets 

are so full, so full of people, so full of friendly dogs 

and cats that all the people feed, so full of tea the color 

of fox’s blood, so full of simit and börek and kokoreç 

and ayran (which, truthfully, my sugar-crazed tastebuds 

can’t quite comprehend), so full of half-ruins you shouldn’t 

call ruins because they are half-built right into new buildings and 

so unsurprising everyone en route to everywhere ignores them, so full 

of moustached men and rhyming conjugations, so full of 

“geliyorum! biliyorum! seviyorum!,” and songs of daily conversation, 

so full of poetry in every stream of consciousness on cobbled 

streets, so full of golden-amber honeydrop sunbeams and 

suspended in a moment or a hundred years in hues and shapes of 

Byzantine mosaics or Ottoman minarets, so full of metro lines zipping 

like thoughts between neurons to here and there and back again when 

the sky goes dark and the bridges light up, so full I could not possibly 

eat another bite but they are bringing me another plate, so full of lovely 

pleasantries that now curl cat-like and pounce on the tip of my tongue 

with no English equivalents (kolay gelsin! hayırlı uğurlu olsun! 

and my favorite, iyi ki varsın!), so full of masses uncounted or so 

my friends tell me—Istanbul, are you the fullest of cities? For 

when I am with you, drawn deep to ornate prayer chambers

of culture long gone, culture right now, culture to come, I am 

so full, so full, so full. Dopdolu, dopdolu, dopdolu İstanbul’um. 

O kadar sevdim ki ben seni.

Street Animals // Sokak Hayvanları

Honnah Patnode

Bütün insanlar suçlu değildir ama 

Bütün hayvanlar masumdur.” —Şanışer, “Susamam” 

“All people are not guilty, but 

All animals are innocent.” 

Dear God, 

I pray I always have the kind of heart 

that hurts to see a street dog’s ribcage poking 

up and out, a second shivering body cowering 

under a threadbare blanket too thin for winter. 

I pray I always have the crumbs to spare 

and the merciful spirit to spare them 

for the broken-winged bird with darting eyes 

who fights for his place at my feet. 

I pray that though he cannot understand my words, 

the sweet black cat who howls and hisses 

will know I find him darling, I wouldn’t harm him 

the way I suspect someone else may have before. 

I pray my hands stretch out with palms 

full of abundant yellow gentleness like spring pollen 

to spread with thoughtless, delighted generosity 

to the rejected, the untouched, the yearning. 

Dear God, 

I pray I always have the kindness of heart 

that loves to love these overlooked beloveds.

Honnah Patnode is a 25-year-old writer from Kalamazoo, Michigan. She studied communication, management, and creative writing at Eastern Michigan University. Her writing career began in grade school when she operated a small library of handwritten stories out of her classroom desk. She has been previously published by JLB Creatives Publishing on with a short story and two novellas. Her current focus revolves around poetry and prose poetry. More of her work can be found at