All of Athens empties out onto one roadway
while the others wait on the seventh hill of Rome.
Eight hours away from childhood,
an electronic dance remix I’ve heard during the winter,
and four village bells ringing in the valley.
Children snap from behind dumpsters in the dark
as we shed our damp winter wools,
sip sweet wine,
promising to be pure,
promising to keep a secret for another year.
How I wish to decorate the tomb with white roses and jasmine,
to feel the tears through black fabric,
soak my skin with my doubt
and cross myself by memory
as gold liturgical fans pass me.
Letting go of my grandmother’s hand,
it feels good to hold onto something else tonight,
a daffodil and a vodka soda,
a cigarette between my nightclub fingers,
the accoutrements of youth.
Walking through the crowd,
on top of peanut shells and tradition,
of an unwelcomed feeling,
of being told that he is waiting to be himself,
I too, am that person waiting,
with my own yellowed and decaying palm frond spread before me.
Dionissios Kollias lives and writes in Brooklyn.