BACK TO THE GREENHOUSE
I could even now go back there,
pass winter on the southern coast,
tend tomatoes in greenhouses so hot
you dunk your vest then slap it on
and it’s dry again by the row’s end.
They show you how to maybe twice
then you’re alone, avoiding wasps,
scanning snowy mountains where
the partisans hid out. One time I had
a refugee in my hut, seeking work.
I gave him space and in the morning
when the boss walked in he sat up,
thrust a cigarette at that leather face
by way of introduction or ingratiation:
outside, a world of mud and plastic,
splintered palettes unfit for purpose;
old rusted trucks like the skeletons
of beasts where sun pokes through.
ON PHILOPAPPOS HILL
My father has come to visit
so I take him for a walk:
we climb dust paths through tall pines,
ascend levels of micro-climate
the morning fresh with cones and jasmine,
eucalyptus, wild oregano,
turn the bend to suddenly behold
a steel and concrete sea.
I point to landmarks here and there:
a tower, hotel or ancient ruin,
attempt to impress him with knowledge
of a foreign place but, as always
he is not to be impressed
by any aspect of my world
yet remarks upon the stamina I show
as the city roars and hoots below.
Says he needs to get back to his garden.