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Felicity Yates

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Between Tzidrá and Hídera (Lesvós)

April sweats
in the olive groves
their deceptive flowers as camouflaged
as the trunks’ true fruit
grey backed basin of leaf
(black of fall nets
just memory)
peasant feet packed in stone.

Donkeys vanish
in dappling shadows
thin and
bracketed by Jerusalem’s cross
chains scour their nasal bones
like bark scars.

From the rutted track
a medieval road rises
flagstones like flanks of old stallions
six hundred years
with ghost ringing,
relentless goats.

Priests at Páscha
bless the fields,
virginities taken
scarlet sheet poppies
dead by June
dust by Assumption Day.
Cyclamens thrust purple in October
when dew returns, with the
people.

All winter, the back pain and panniers
of old women
bear the alchemical fruit

soaked and soaked and soaked and soaked,
crushed for their mortal ambrosia
salted, till the flesh hangs tender
like meat.

 

 

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