ISSUE 15
February 2001

Donna J. Gelagotis Lee

 

Donna J. Gelagotis Lee has poetry published or forthcoming in The Bitter Oleander, CALYX: A Journal of Art and Literature by Women, Hurricane Alice, The Midwest Quarterly, and Wisconsin Review. Donna lived in Greece for many years. She is a freelance editor in Princeton, New Jersey.
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     —Petra, Lésvos, Greece


Just remember
the coast
as it is in
September, summer’s
back at its heels,
the olive trees hanging
fruit that plumps
dark into the night,
the half-deserted
street a chilled
artery, blood
slowed. I know
the moon has no
friends at this time
of year and the men
will go out to
the olive trees to knock
the plumping fruit
out of the trees
onto the netted
ground, where women
curl into cocoons,
their fingers unseen
as they blacken
with fruit, their curved
backs bending into
the landscape.

I can see the men
on the edge
of this summer after-
noon, picking out
sticks to be carved,
getting the feel of
the débla, already
testing its weight and
contemplating
balance in the limbs
of the olive trees,
in the limbs
of women who will crisscross
the hard ground,
women who will scavenge
for olives, their knuckles
blossoming black, their fingertips
dug into earth, the raw
afternoon bearing down
until each shaft of
light disappears and
dusk is more than
a memory of passing
with its heavy hand
and its delicate fingertips
brushing the fields,
lightly touching
all the landscape,
the trunks, the
leaves, the trees,
until night arrives
with promises
for tomorrow.
I can see each woman
with night already
on her face, the mountain
underfoot, as she heads
home while the men
join each other at
the tavérna and lick
ouzo from the rims
of short glasses.

 

 

Donna J. Gelagotis Lee: Poetry
Copyright © 2000 The Cortland Review Issue 15The Cortland Review