Volume 9 (Spring 2015)

Dimitra Kotoula

     trans. by Maria Nazos



Escape or the Words



She has only to wait. They will find her.

Streaming over her like delicate fingers

that outlasted the wait

exhausting the density between pauses

until time becomes space again

(inner space;)

until she can listen to the garden

work quietly-

                       again.


Meanwhile

           they ripple the air and are gone  

exposing her brutally to the birds' singing

              tormenting the atmosphere

with long creeping strokes.

Imagine them—

in eternal walkabout

           against the symbolic

              (or the beautiful)

beyond that which hesitates

             (or awaits in anticipation?)

studies in incarnation

     feathered creatures that inexplicably

succumb to their transformation.


They have their own way to pain her.

They have their own way to leave.


Each time more stubborn  

                and more intimate


they abandon her.

I watch.  


            They flood their absence

                                              and leave     

they grant her silence                

                    and leave


as if something beyond their roots is calling for them

           something fated

more sheltered than the low relief of springtime sea

          that has always been

                         or rather was (?)


(the dew will gather like grapes and she won't be there)

(cold rain will light the night)


It is important to entrust everything to this flight.

To let them mercifully finish—                   

                        their work.  


"a page full of words is a page drowned in ragweed"


Fiery leaves of elms shimmer

small bright red screams on my windowpane.  




We know nothing about the ending.

We cannot see through to the end.

We cannot see beyond it.




Landscapes I



It's an icy day.


A lifeless wing of morning light

hangs there, mundane

stubborn.

The smell of frost and the red leaves of the plane tree steaming.

Fresh furrows of soggy raw material.

My hands  

held straight out before me

devout and servile

worn by desire

sullied by the mud of self-indulgent nostalgia

gather their bearings.

Staying faithful to this light

I learn myself more clearly

I remember myself more clearly

beyond prediction or truth.

The autumn smoke rises serenely.

The forest of my troubled thought

rustles above me.

A sound fades red in my mouth.

Close your eyes

Close your eyes well to—


I you and this.


A handful of grief is scattered across the sea.

The sea is glorious.  

We have no glory.

Only our hands a couple now

white hands amid green

worn down by desire

sullied by the mud of self-indulgent nostalgia

borrowed hands

live

for a moment almost bright  

then eclipsed

a small violent army of regal frivolity

only our hands a couple now

-but without wings-wrapping and unwrapping promises

forcing back the decay


while we lie silently

in the dark

looking at each other




while we hold each other

silently

in the dark



and the heart asks for nothing



-for we are poor-



just breathes the rhythmical breath



of its own relentless pounding.





Dimitri Kotoula is the author of Three Notes for a Melody published by Nefeli Editions, Athens. Her poetry, essays and translations have appeared on line as well as in poetry anthologies and journals in Greece, Europe and the Balkans. Her poems have been translated in English by A.E. Stallings, Fiona Sampson, and David Connolly. Currently, she works as an archaeologist and lives in Athens, Greece with her daughter.

Maria Nazos is the author of A Hymn That Meanders, (2011, Wising Up Press). She received her MFA in Writing from Sarah Lawrence College. Her work has received fellowships from the University of Nebraska, Vermont Studio Center and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Her work is published or forthcoming in The Florida Review, The Southern Humanities Review, The New Ohio Review, Poet Lore, The New York Quarterly, The Sycamore Review, Main Street Rag, Tar River Poetry, and elsewhere. She is a doctoral candidate in English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Maria can be found at her web site.

On Libations: "I love drinking my Prosecco! Love raising my pale glass in a toast to the sunset, while the living room walls gradually fade from tawny to indigo, to black."