PoetryIssue 23 | November 2015

Thessaloniki, Four a.m.

by Anastasia Vassos

Here they dance with arms raised above their heads
while their legs sink deep in the dusty earth, describing

the arc of some forgotten journey. The middle
of the body suspended like a question.

I’ve been up all night drinking ouzo, my plane
leaves in an hour, the dust of rebetika pulses

in my veins. I have an exquisite headache. I’m in love
with this city of dusty streets and ancient churches.

For now, it is I on this empty road, the car radio
my only cohort. Metallic strains of bouzouki seep

through the air like the thick smoke of a Gauloise.
Even the sardine fishermen sleep.

The heat has begun to settle like a blanket.
When the sun comes up, I’ll be gone.

Three thousand ancestors ask how I straddle
the sea, a foot on either shore.

I peer through the windshield at Orion’s belt,
in search of home. The three sisters

are the stars that shine in the middle. I race
in the dark, speaking in tongues.

About the author

Anastasia Vassos began writing poetry around the age of nine. One of her first poems was a tribute written in Greek to her father, in iambic trimeter. Her travels have taken her through most of Western Europe and the Caribbean, and her work has been published in Blast Furnace and Haibun Today. Currently, she lives and works in Boston, Massachusetts where she is vice president of marketing for a global engineering firm. 

Read our current issue:


Two poems by Anne Babson
Vignette, Townhouse, 9 a.m. by Troy Cunio
Night Becomes Day Over the West by Megan Foley
Yukon River Aurora by D. B. Goman
Two Poems by David Havird
Cretan Love Letter by Emily Linstrom
Holland by Rick Mullin
Fear in Kenya by Kristina Pfleegor
The Lounge Lizard by Ed Shacklee
Two Poems by Sarah J. Sloat
Night Flight by Vicki Stannard
Koinonia Farms by Alina Stefanescu
Thessaloniki, Four a.m. by Anastasia Vassos
Imaginary Oceans by Jason Warren
Two Poems by F. J. Williams

Postcard prose

It’s Salty by Kelly Hill

Travel notes

Anchorage in the Great Land by Karen Benning
The Value of Small Money by Megan Hallinan
Screensaver by Sandra Larson
Thirty Cents by Tommy McAree
Gokarna by Kate McCahill
Going Places by Rachel Miller-Howard
Susanville CA: Notes From The Road by Susan Volchok