Agios Dimitrios – by Gary Kaiser

We met one morning
at a cafe in Plaka
Fortune’s mischief-making
had our coffees arrive at once
a ray of prismed sun
cutting across the narrow street
an excuse to nudge my wobbly table
a few precious inches towards hers.

She smiled
and I shivered as
the old stone walls released
the last of the night’s coolness
giving way to the rising urgency
of the Greek summer sun.
I was the timid visitor and
she Aphrodite’s daughter.

I followed her along
the broken footpath leading
through the brush of Nymph Hill
to her secret chapel
– Agios Dimitrios, she called it –
the heat settling on my lips
the dust of the ages
filling my nostrils with faint pine and cypress
smelling of millennia and of
my new friend Tyche.

We sat on chiseled rocks
at the front of the chapel
the city below obscured
by olive trees
scrappy thin weeds
and the summer’s tide of
midday haze.

We kissed as gods might
at the end of a day’s work
tired and languid
yet full of promise
my damp-dirty hands
soiling her loose shirt as
I licked rivulets of sweat
that formed like tears
running down
the taut curves of her brown skin
tasting of Aegean Sea-wine.

And then she was gone
leaving me to drown
or to live
– no matter to her –
she wandered into my life
for just this moment
leaving me to choose
to descend touched but unbroken
to the streets of Athens
or follow into the uncharted darkness
of her Agios Dimitrios.

Gary KaiserGary Kaiser is still learning to be a better chef, handyman, translator, yogi, traveler, tech writer, mechanic, photographer, stargazer. He’d sacrifice much of these to be a poet. Born near Toronto, grew up in the NYC area, now living in San Francisco.