Tuesday, August 02, 2022

Tuesday poem #487 : Vivian Vavassis : Elegy for SH, Pascha

For Steven Heighton


Your words, pollen
blooming encounters with displaced
thoughts, persons, a dissipation

of the right to apathy.

Lesvos, an island of (my) sapphic desire
stone goddesses forever slink in pale peach frocks
noctambulant in the dark

intermingled now with leaky rafts un-
seaworthy, and you, rushing to meet

bobbing bodies, bring them sobbing
with relief fright flashes memory trauma home.

Leading them half-lost in your mother’s
land, moonsilvered grass, branches gouging, stiffening

spine, resolve, wilting hardness, kicks aplomb
with soccer balls later, kids giggling, helios on their backs.

I meet you somewhere
in the scaffolding of honeycomb mind
mnemonic wax of conversations, emails

perfumed with your poems.
Do you remember reading in the nave

(hairs perking up in the conch of Zeus’s ear)
full moon of my belly between us?

Your kindness, concern when I left early.
For weeks, you sent me stories about raising

small humans, snippets of haiku laced
with lyre gut.

I learned you had been sick
during the holy week.
Smacked me broadside

stomach a fistclenched clam.
A makeshift altar on my bookcase

is small: bamboo cross and purple kandili.
any toast today bittersweet

wine and bog water
embalming our encounters.

Travel well.
I still owe you a homecooked meal

and olives.

Ottawa, Greek Easter Sunday, 2022


Vivian Vavassis is a Montréal ex-pat who lives in Ottawa and calls both cities home. Her poems and essays have appeared in Prairie Fire, Arc, ottawater, Paris Lit Up, Peter F. Yacht Club, Glosas for P.K. Page, phafours press publications, and Studies in Canadian Literature, among others. Her chapbook XII was published by Textualis Press. She has been shortlisted for the Diana Brebner Prize twice, and her work was featured in the Parliamentary Poet Laureate's Poem of the Month program. Once upon a time, she ran a bunch of little ‘zines, and she currently sits on the board of VERSeFest.

the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan

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