Day Three on Poros    

I write poetry.
I eat lunch at a dockside
café, moussaka, white wine,
coarse bread, & feta cheese.  

Other tourists move antlike
through the shops nearest the sea
until shop owners close
for their 2-5 o’clock siesta.  

The heat reminds me of Kentucky
except without the oppressive humidity.
At night, the men will come out
to dance & drink in  a taverna.  

I follow their lead,
& sleep for the afternoon in a room cooled
even temperature by thick walls,
whitewashed to deflect the sunlight.  

When the sea absorbs its share
of heat, I will come out
& move up the hill
toward whatever merriment awaits.  

At midnight, I go down to the dock,
give my Campari & orange to a young
woman, perched on a wall, crying into
the dark night and the cool air from the sea.  

She gives me a sea smooth rock
in return. “Did you hear my song flung
up to you? I never had this drink you
scoundrel,” she said. “It won’t get me  

drunk enough to go to bed with you.”
I say nothing and she asks, “Will you
grant me one wish tonight, gentle fool?”
I hear a stronger voice, in her request.  

“Unless a poem will satisfy you,
I cannot promise more. As poet, I do
words better than grant fantasies, beautiful
siren, & if that is the object of your quest,  

I will begin.”
“No,” she says. I will wish for poetry
tomorrow. Tonight I have finished my song.
I want to dance like a southern gypsy.  

“Only then
will I grant your one wish; the poetry
you write must be what has gone wrong
in my life, so far nothing good, you’ll see.”