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It is copyright © Donna J. Gelagotis Lee and Jacket magazine 2009. See our [»»] Copyright notice.
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The broken night on a hinge
of moonlight threatens to fall.
But the waves relentless
in their crashing do not pause
She had no words to give that country.
So she gave it translation,
verbalizing what the eye saw,
letters and sounds — psomi, bread,
gata, cat, skilos, dog, milo, apple —
then the short sentence of desire —
thelo, I want. Then thelo, I
don’t want. She’d vacillate. This
The heat slowed the body.
Words wanted to roll back down
the throat, like eyes rolling back
in the ecstasy of sleep,
in the siesta of dream — the body
lulled with a rhythm of wind
that deviated down tunneled roads, breeze
whistling inaudibly over scarlet poppies
struggling beside limestone rock.
She was burnt with it, hollowed
by it, that lazy eye of want she
could not address. It burned
into the landscape until the land-
scape spoke for her, and she listened,
and she answered without a word
it did not understand.
Donna J. Gelagotis Lee’s book, On the Altar of Greece, is the winner of the Seventh Annual Gival Press Poetry Award. The collection received a 2007 Eric Hoffer Book Award: Notable for Art Category and was nominated for a Los Angeles Times Book Prize and other awards. Her poetry has appeared in numerous literary and scholarly journals. She lived in Greece for many years. Her website is http://www.donnajgelagotislee.com/