Poem – Trains to Pireaus Ride My Rails, a sestina

Trains to Piraeus Ride My Rails

There was a time I lived without you.

We silent moonlit passengers

Fled to the trains, as ones must

When no longer sharing cups

Of tea and twined in bed at night

With each other’s breathing, silence.

Now we contemplate new silence

Where we stir from sleep without a

Day, without the day, into night.

I lost you in the passengers’

Luggage, stowaway hiding cups

Of hopes of liaison. We must

Absolutely, yes we spill now

In Rethymno.  So silent

The worries, buttercup,

You checked bus station box out,

Number 5-4, while passengers

And tourists on Ouzo that night

Swerved home to rooms and eyes finite.

I slept in barns for days, how I must

Have drove crows wild, my passengers.

Like fresh bread I break the silence

And sit at a deuce but without

You, no way to gather your cup

Of ear, smile into my morning cup.

Remember, in Rethymno, that night?

I knew I could not live without

You. We promised we would, we must

Return, crow it here in silence

And turn away the passengers

Of passengers, destinations

And fold each other in the cup

Of embrace, of rest and silence

To endure, like shells at midnight

When the thorns and the old cheese must

Be our home, when war comes without

A warning of new land, new long nights –

A window upon it I now must

Close, us within, and war without.

This dedication goes to a young couple I met from Sarajevo while I lived on Crete, a tragic young couple who were swept up and destroyed by war in 1992.  Greek police captured and enslaved the woman, forced her to have sex with them and the local fire department guys. She used to work at Bloomingdale’s.  Then, a lawyer – or some type of crusty guy – “married” her and hid her away somewhere. In effect, he rescued her and made her a housekeeper. No one saw her again, but she sent us letters saying she was safe. Right. She was “happy” in the letters.

The young man, a former professional tennis player, was brain-damaged from being beaten while they fled from Macedonia or some such. He missed his fiancée and no one could bear to tell him what had happened to her. Horrible. Haunted by them. I tried to imagine him returning to their agreed rendevouz point night after night in Rethymnon. He kept thinking she’d show up one night. The second time cops deported him, he never returned. We thought he was dead.

Keeping it light and breezy! Peace!

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