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Sparse Leavings

ISSUE:  Summer 1995

Vineyards, olive groves, white houses strewn on the side of the hill,
swallows, sparrows, cicadas—they almost belonged to us
once. At night, the crickets lit up our sleep
with their small cries. Helen went back to Sparta
years ago—left us here with a few robes of tattered gossamer,
a few empty perfume crystals. With their help,
we deluded ourselves for a while, wallowing in nostalgia.
We deluded the others too—no one noticed a thing.
The Dioscuri, of course, were turned into stars.
So we believed in our own metamorphosis. But now
the thermometer is broken, and gives no reading.
Only sometimes, in our sleepless nights, the beads of mercury scattered on the ground
wink at us, like make-believe stars.

Karlovasi, 8-17-87


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