The rain stopped. All the rain became a small round


like the warm ring in your finger with its light-blue stone.

There is always a sad story in the periphery

            of the ring

like a young girl who’s crying locked behind the autumnal


Do you like to go for a short walk, a little further away

from the neighbourhood, there, where the skeleton

              of the airplane is rusting?

They are all good — the washed roads, the washed roofs

of the houses, the window shutters

as if they have been painted and the light bulb

under the door of the milkman’s store is washed too

like a soap-bubble blown by the joyous mouth of a child.

              When we were children

we played with the soap bubbles all morning long and

              Anette used to say: “why you waste the soap?

Do you remember Anette with the black headscarf?” 

She always had almonds and walnuts in the pockets

of her apron — she always treated us and she had an old coin

of silence with two ancient heads engraved on it — back then

when the coal vendor passed by the neighbourhood

with his cart, he looked like a runner who shone on top

              of his chariot in the fire of the dusk;

back then when even the shortest song in the gramophone,

              on Saturday night,

was lasting for a long time in the night, so much so

that we didn’t want to fall asleep so that we wouldn’t

miss the rest of it, like a lady with her very long white

dress that entered through an engraved door

and the lacy tail of her dress was slow passing through

the door while the lady was already gone.

We used to fall asleep in this way. And the fragrance

              of the damp roses

remained on the bed-sheet. And a whole army of stars

was walking on the wooden floor planks as if the tin

soldiers were re-energized.

The evening star, up front, was holding the flag.

We didn’t know yet the meaning of war.

There was a glass orchard outside our window

the house smelled of morning coffee and jasmine, the sun

             was coming in from the kitchen.

Mother was hanging the copper coffee pots and it was

as if she cut lights from a river and tied them in small


There was that young shepherd who was whistling over

            that light-blue hill.

That was the signal; we knew it. We wouldn’t drink our milk

            that was getting cold on the table

next to the small napkins embroidered with the young donkeys

            and the large yellow daisies

and the silver tray resembled the cool morning moon,

            somewhat sleepy —

for this, mother had gone to the garden, with her hair


to get the moon that had fallen among the roses — and her

hair was filled with pearls

drink your milk she would say. Didn’t mother hear

             the whistle?

The young shepherd boy was waiting for us there, to

teach us how to play the flute.

And whatever we touched after that — a cup, a book,

             the back of a chair

was as if we were trying our fingers on the flute.

 Shall we go for a short walk around the neighbourhood


Perhaps we’ll find some wild flowers that have poked

              through schisms amid the rocks.

The whole of Athens is visible down there — the trolleys

go around like big ants — a man who pushes his cart is

like an ant that pushes a grain of wheat —

the silence of sundown and its reflection on the windows

           of the cars

as if they adorn the rough forest with sparkles. You can smell

           emigration and wild celery.

The gypsies must have lifted their tents on their shoulders

they must have wrapped the distances and their songs

in their huge square kerchiefs made of canvas.

Only a knot remains on top of the clouds and in our throats

like the knot the gypsies used to tie their bundled cloths.

They took their bundles on their shoulders and vanished in

            the steam of dusk

like the army Red Cross regiment in the forest.   

Now the last two birds drink rain water from the half

           part of the broken violin.

The barefoot angels are cold. Everything passes.

You hear the train’s whistle as if coming from the underworld.

            Athens after the rain.

No, I say to you. I don’t want. They killed them over there.

            They were young.

They hadn’t finished their first song. How bitter is the evening.

The evening star is red against the grey sky

            of the neighbourhood

like the bloodied hole in the shirt of the killed man.

Strange, really, how fast children grow these days;

when you say I’m hungry and they tell you there’s

no bread— you grow twenty years between these

two words.

Their voices are heard coming from the playground

           with the dried up shrubs:

adult voices, strong, like the pain in the stomach

like the train loaded with ammunition and going

           through a tunnel.

Sometimes their ball is seen over the red, washed roofs

           of the houses

sketching a curve as if designing a bridge that connects

the two edges of the city — passing over that bridge

you could reach the sky. Lightning hides behind

the hills, a proclamation in the pockets of the children.

And the evening star is their ball. How high it has reached.