Between Sweet Well Water and Salty Sea

Over warm sand and dusty trails
I would ride sidesaddle
with Phoevos the bicycle charioteer
on dirt roads of scanty piney shade
bumping over earth and stone
bodies thirsting
for a surge of sea
a winged victory
to where the horizon rings
a mirage of day breaking East

noon parched we would ride back through
hot stillness and myriad insect buzz
to the membranous touch
of cucumber peel on the skin
and watermelon slices on the lips

the wet touch of island memories
lingering like aged shadows
of goddesses
who dropped their buckets deep
to cool well water
keeping bodies fresh
and house gods clean
or who rode the foam to travel far
seizing dreams in rosewood porcelain and teak
while drinking Evian to remember island springs

goddesses frozen like little statuettes
the Aphrodites du Trikomo in the Louvre
and the translucent phantoms
I commemorate today
with handfuls of raisins almonds sesame
and pomegranate seeds

 

Stephanos Stephanides, Blue Moon in Rajasthan and other poems, Kochlias Publications, 2005.