Thessaloniki, Four AM

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

The poems of Anastasia Vassos appear in RHINO, SWWIM, Rust+Moth, Thrush Poetry Journal and Comstock Review among others. She is the author of Nike…

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Issue 23 · November 2015

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