Gifts: Naxos

Eggs from a passing stranger:
Three, an awkward handful.
Wet, speckled, grassy,
Each a different shade of cream.
Small still life we take turns bearing.
What can we do in this hungry sun
but leave them here
on a low stone wall, for ghosts
Or maybe goats?

Amygdala says the boy
As he hands us each a soft green node,
One of the many he was smashing with a rock
as we happened past.  And freska
second word we recognize.  He shows us how
to peel back the pillowy shell,
watches as we taste
nutmeat, wet and fresh,
heaps our palms
with more than we can hold.

In this village cemetery,
its gate secured by twisted wire,
we trespass, stepping over graves:
bedsized sandboxes of gravel
cut into marble.

You share what you’ve been told:
when all that’s left is bone
women will come to polish, collect
and cart the rest away, to make
the necessary room.

A shrine for each headboard.
Behind glass, a gold-framed photo
(A solemn teen, or someone’s Yia Yia)
and offerings: icons and sweets,
a lamp, oil, a cigarette lighter

left like a pledge: We will come back.
Meanwhile, bougainvillea spills like blood
sunward, straight from the remains,
what earth gives back in recompense.

About the author

April Lindner backpacked solo across Western Europe when she was 22. Since then, she has returned to Europe seven times, most recently to take…

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Issue 20 · May 2014

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