After Italo Calvino

The city has a curious set of borders: most travellers don’t know they’ve arrived until they see it’s landmarks: an unmade bed with sheets twisted like seafoam, the bookshelf like a castle’s parapets. They remember when they were a child, and a study table became a mountain top, the system of caves under the bed. The Turkish rug becomes a series of narrow and winding streets. The flourishes in the corners each mark an oasis, with ornamental islands curved like seashells. At its centre, the flowering walled citadel, gardens spilling across brick-lined patios. Twelve arches, each decorated with trailing wisteria, lead into an inner courtyard. There stands the palace with rooms set out like the petals of a flower. Here must be the leader of this city. A king in fine clothes who greets you warmly, and sends servants to bring you strong coffee and rose-flavoured biscuits. Is this the city? It has to be. Orange blossoms waft gently through the streets. The inhabitants go about their business: selling bunches of violets, fresh bread, trinkets from travellers, and a rug that when laid out, turns into a perfect map of the city. Watching it, the rug becomes city, and the first vanishes into the weaving.




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