I’ll take the olive and you keep the lemon.
You have the sea; I’ll take the old city.
When we both need bread, we won’t ask God,
who long ago abandoned his chair on this beach.
You thought no one lived in the apartments
over the shell-shocked bakery,
but there must be one old refugee
to the highest rooms, who each night lobs
into the sky, like a giant wheel of bread,
the moon of this desecrated planet.
If you’ve any respect for what we
once were, leave the geraniums.
They don’t need either of us.
And I guess I’ll take this stray dog here,
since you took bathing in January
in the little bay I loved so well
with the swamped wooden boat.
Though it hardly, now, seems fair.
Why have I given up nearly everything
and you almost nothing at all?
I’ll shoot if you try to take the wind.
I want to die under the carob tree.
Leave me that and I will pray for you,
though God has gone from his hiding place
in the highest limbs, and the rats each day
are killing off more of the foliage.
Men in Rooms
Men in rooms are talking
again. Men in suits in closed rooms,
their memories tailored,
their egos historic.
In what country is someone hanging
hand-washed hopes on the line
to dry—and is it before
or just after winter rain?
There are armies behind those men
in rooms. And the boom
and bust of corporations and nations.
There are guns and missiles
and maps that make it all true.
Though not so much for the women
on balconies, checking the sky for rain
or the faraway girl falling
from the window of a sex club,
her passport gone, her republic invisible.
Nostalgia with Boy and Pink Flamingo
—for G. L.
Toward the extravagance of feathers the boy
is running, across the living room to that wild sweet
encounter, mouth open in wonder
and time a ballet, costumed in pink, touched
with black at the wings, flying.
Birdward into the future, he runs
into the shattering, 1973, 1974, he sees sky—
Famagusta blue—sees bird, balcony, blood. His own.
The glass door stutters its surprise when he
breaks through. Into the fleeing. Boy and bird.
Time, a bullet. Time, the violence that happens every moment
we can’t return. As when barbed wire
becomes the door, and the city is forbidden,
the bird no-love-lost, and we don’t see where we’re headed
or what will break us. He has the scars
to prove it. Please. Tell me a story. The one
about the salt marsh by the sea. How lovely the bird,
how happy the boy running to meet it.
Photo Credit: Rachel Clarke