UNTIL NEXT TIME![i]
-All things vanish. For each a time is due.
-All things remain. I go. Now it’s left to you.
Odysseus Elytis 1998[ii]
Dawn mist rouses him,
flings open iced shutters
embraces chilled air.
He drives to town
past cemetery gate.
enticed by aromas of baking bread,
pungent coffee bean roasters,
repelled by fish stalls drowned in flies
slaughtered goats hooked on high,
pause to read death notices.
He joins bakery queue,
behind pregnant woman jostled
makes way for trembling old woman,
frowns at another who shouts I tremble too!
He retreats to kafenion, embraces his brother,
shouts him a thick brew, ouzo, mezethes.
They chat with village elders and émigrés,
spurn whining beggars.
Raucous recollections of youth, deceased compatriots,
the weekly funeral tally,
the farewells Until next time!
But there was no next time.
Loula S. Rodopoulos