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Thasos, Greece


Of course the leaving breaks you,
this is a place of ruins after all.
All things whole crumble and become

worth praising, you become worse
and then better, you abandon language
and find it again beneath an unnameable tree

and on the signs advertising honey, MέλI, MέλI
in the sweet wine made by wrinkled hands,
in the fear of bones lodged in the throat

but eating anyways, Μελανούρι, honeyfish,
in swallowing, in singing, because of course
there are violins, and of course you know

the words now, their sharp and round edges,
or at least some sorry semblance of them
that feels good rippling across the tongue.

You mistake ocean for sea, mistake body for river,
you call every constellation by the wrong name
And love them all the more for it, you dare ghosts

to hold you, laying down with them in reverence
beside ancient and cracked columns, bearing
sea urchins as offerings, eyes wide, searching the sky.

One by one the shooting stars rip you open,
leave you bleeding stories you didn’t know
you needed to tell. And when you leave, it won’t matter

how you were wounded or where you are going,
there will be sand and salt in the wound regardless.
It will sting like scraped knees, it will change the ways

you move, how you bend and break. It will ache like grief.

If you don’t survive it, they will build a temple for you.
If you do, you will build it for yourself.


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