George Stratigakis



She asks me to cut the grass

and has distant and dark glassy eyes.

She is from Venus, now I know. All I

can think of is Frost and his wall

and why must it be cut

—it's not yet overgrown but an inch—

so with a Keatsian wild surmise

I declare: "Let nature grow."

What I mean is, let it have a go;

it is not yet a bother 

and I for one am dying to know    

how the dandelions will loom

over the lawn's meek mass

watchtower-stalks of radiant yellow.




Maybe you found History

comfortably napping on your couch

and a delicate frown nudged a chord within.

But me, I see him turbaned

charging the walls at Istanbul

his yataghan held high; and

a child, eyes bulging  

seeing nothing

save a soldier-father

blankly in convoy driven by.

Have your chat with the Queen

or go to the convenience store for milk and cookies; 

I smell the farmer's plow-furled soil 

damply sheen and earthen tangy

while in the boundary ditch unseen

— like Icarus in Breughel's vision —

a wife locks jaws and whimper-grunts

bloodily birthing her tenth.

Then with deliberate and tremulous moves   

she tears her faded charcoal dress 

and bundles the newborn for our walk to town.  



George Stratigakis was born in Sparti, Greece. He has translated Hemingway into Greek, written song lyrics and is currently working on a novel. He teaches English in Connecticut. 



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