Friday Poem

The Alibi

Whenever I come to visit you
only the time that’s intervened
from one visit to the next has changed.
As for the rest, as always
from my eyes runs a river
your engraved name blurred
– godfather to the little hyphen
between the two dates
so people won’t think the length
of your life died unbaptised.
Next I clean the flowers’
withered droppings adding
some red earth where black had been laid
and finally I change the glass in the oil-lamp
for another a clean one I bring.

As soon as I get home
I diligently wash the dirty one
disinfecting it with chlorine
and the caustic foam of disgust I emit
as I shake vigorously.
Always with gloves and keeping my body
well away from the tiny basin
so the dead water won’t splash me.
With strong aversion’s wire wool I scour
the ingrained grease on the glass’ rim
and on the palate of the doused flame
while rage crushes the illicit stroll
of a snail, trespasser
in the neighbouring stillness.

I rinse it then rinse with scalding fury
a boiling effort to bring the glass to its prime
its happy normal use
for quenching thirst.
And at last it becomes crystal clear
how hypochondriacal my wish is not to die.

dearest – look at it this way:
when wasn’t love afraid of death?
by Kiki Dimoula
translation: David Connoly
from A minute´s licence
publisher: Poetry Greece, Corfu, 2000