You see them leaning out of gates
their faces bored on Sunday afternoons
their eyes living past landscapes.
Newcomers from old countries.
The one I see each night catching the 9 o’clock.
Dark, stocky, with two beady eyes; wan now,
spare weathered face, stump of a hand,
a basket full of peanuts.
The ancient quays at home have forged him patiently
for years, so deeply and so well, that as he walks,
bow-legged, the tables sprout around him, and the sea
familiar and deceptive in the glass like silence of
the light, and everwhere, uncoiling in the air,
the plaintive voices of amanedes.
Yet if one spoke to him in parks, of home,
his eyes would flicker for a moment only,
past the accumulated tiredness of years,
refusing to be lured, suspicious.
The owner dead. The one who did possess in his
own youth the secret of the living bird,
and could have made it fly,
breathtakingly, blue nerve and sunlight.
© Antigone Kefala