His flip-flops trod happily through

Athens' scalding summer streets

Eager to show her the city's treasures

Within the maze of traffic and high rise hotels

Scrunch Scrunch they went across marble stones

As they trudged up to greet the colossal Parthenon

Gracious amig heat and smog;

They flapped beside the clicking of her high-heeled shoes,

One step ahead, in full charge of the flight plan

And they were not timid among the crowd,

Never lost their course

As they flipped and flopped their way

Into her sticky heart.

"I used to pray to find a girl like you from that window"

They took the pot-holed highway into the hills

Where the smell of ouzo permeated the air, rose

Into monumental oaks which shaded sitters at crossroads

To the church at Agiassos full of incense and incantations.

She kept her hands in the pockets of her jeans

And would not kiss pictures of the saints.

As they drank their sodas in the square

A wedding party descended, brightening the hill;

Hand in hand the bride and groom glowed love

"It should be us" he said

Old women dressed in black cottons chewed pine resin gum

And the men swung worry beads 'round their thumbs


There was no stopping the Pegasus feet that summer

From mauve twilight suffusing Plomari's harbor

Alive with smells of kelp and souvlaki and conversation

To Eressos' beach where friendly ripples purled

Making dull thuds on the hull of their red and blue boat

Easing back to shore to scores of bathers

In shades of tan who did not know them

Perhaps whitewashed villages with lemon-scented courtyards,

Hanging gourds and oleanders perfuming

Mother-of-pearl light urged him to say

"You are my eyes"

Where do you go these days, O Flip-Flops?

What directions do you take among all those

Postcard towns, crumbling castles and azure bays?

Do you search for ghosts among broken plates

And the taste of retsina at tavernas on your way

To fragrant hills fraught with tangled heather

Sprinkled with petrified stones of gold and green--?

Is that music you hear playing through Aleppo pines

Or is it yearning

That keeps the melody returning

As your outlines stay pressed upon her stony heart,

Fossils from an age gone by.


"Fossils" © 2001 Connie Tonsgard
(The flying crows on this page came from Talking Stick's site)