From Here to There: Imagining Into the Ruins

xxxxxMyrtos, Crete

she dawdled her way up mountain      a slight mountain
less slight    if you began    as    a    fish    circling
in the sea     below   she circles  the      carefully

assembled   &    stacked    limestone       red schist     dry mud
&  sticks    mortared   together       stones    contain      presence
watchful     it was very hot    water spilled from the
cistern      1700 BC    a   giant

unseen    mouth    bit   into   the curve    of its    cell   for
the next   350    years of    contained
occupation    no    one    repaired   it   did the
Minoans  think    the goddess did it     on purpose

a great    breast spilling     its milk   our seeker    sings her
way back to    her    air-conditioned   room   to assuage
a   frightening    exhaustion   she listens toxxx
a poet ~*    via   internet   & dips into     sleep

at   the   phrase    “ under-mothered world ”    thinking   that’s it
that’s why I  came  here –   i was hoping        to find

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxa mercurial        soup-spoon    engorged with    condensed

milk    rises    from the turbulent    sea   of her

/// //
up    a limestone     step-street   down a    spilled-grass  breeze-way     blades
and  thorny    weeds    scratch her    calves   her shins   she makes   a turn
into   a bite-sized    room and     thinks   very possibly
she    could live here    wonders  if    they   would let    her    have   a
window      she would like   a   window    onto    the courtyard
and  moreover   the sea   its blue     every-day     would calm
the chunky    orange    stone of   reverberative  fears   she
reflects    on the cellar   its gypsum   walls    resemble
Styrofoam     blackened from    the burn   water   soluble
slabs     waffled   scrunched      and call     to    mind    wooden    columns   of
the palace    flared    hair
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx1450   BC    flames
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx….   a
xxxxxxxxcistern   at the base of    a winding    staircase     a
spiral of     bone   in   the   rib  of      Pyrgos Hill    she makes
her   way    in search of    purple    light-wells     their   marbled   limestone
discs    punctuate    corners      of a    bronze  age   mother’s   home
/// //

waves feel   their  way  up   the   shoreline   at night   a
woman   in the next-door   apartment   sings
opera   in the mother    tongue     the guide-
book   says   there   were    only a   few
Minoans left    by   300 BC   but
our   dawdler-poet   sees them    everywhere
on-this   remnant   island     their   silhou-
ettes   their   snake   goddess   features   in
the shape of   a   young   man’s   head
his ears   long   tubular
neck   as   he   welds   orange   flags on
popsicle   sticks     at a   construc-
tion   site   along   the    National Road
to   Agios Nicholase       or in   the
curve of    nose   frescoed   build of    women ac-
cepting  euros   for   water   potatoes   eggs
onions   and   figs    in the   Monday   Myrtos   marketplace

/// //

in   the  Ierapetra   museum   a    statue of   Persephone
xxfrom   2AD      holds   an   ear of   corn   in her   left   hand
her   head   crowned by   a    small   altar     encircled
by snakes

When   I   call   them   they   come
she says
xxxxxxxxxxto no one    in   particular.

/// //

sometimes    language    comes   to   her     she sings
the Minoan   site of    Pyrgos Myrtos     when    only
wind   brushes   the   ancient   settlement of    serpentine

our   poet   traveled    all this   way to
touch the ruins    of a   house    fire
dear mother   would you please   write   to
me   in as much   detail   as   possible 
tell me   of   your    childhood   & the 
shake-up   that   so    marked you    left   you  
vulnerable   to   Achilles  &   that   brutal  gang
of   so-called   Superheros

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxthe  Minoans   are   silent
or   perhaps   they   are    only   shy and
she is    listless   impatient
even among    ruins    what   grows   is
photogenic   choreographed   a flowering
in hollows of     thorny   burret   fennel   &
asphodel   lutea      wild sprouts
and seeds

xxxxxxxxxxif    she could   find
a       sibilant   angle    to   the     sea beyond
the  villa   along   the   jumble of   steps
across   the    tapestry   of  –     a   royal   runner
scrolls     alabaster        and
so  often       she   is   tired
all   over     Crete   cicadas
hide   in    trees   a   chorus of    aggravation

/// //

in   the   middle   of   the   night   when   it   is    cooler
she’ll   recall   the   bees      at   Mycenae      buzzing   a-
round    a    leak in    the   mouth   of   a   bright   green   water
hose    and  the bees     will make her     think   of   the   bee   pen-
dent    and the bee    pendent will   recall   the   tholos
tombs    and   the   tholos   tombs   will    call   to   mind   the   om-
phalos .. .. ..




~*Brenda Hillman

From Her Infinite, New Issues Press, 2016