In Exile – Shannon Savvas

There comes a morning when the air has changed.
Your face tips, snake-like to the dawn, tasting, testing, inhaling.
The season has turned once more. The still familiar mantra –
Autumn, Winter, Spring and Summer, now delights.

There comes a morning when you wake to the sound of hunters’ guns.
The swallows have left, and the empty skies speak.
Cloud castles, mythic and voluptuous return to the island.
They threaten but never promise rain.
Mushrooms, scabrous tumours, orange, fecund and fertile,
ooze from the earth, cowering from the searching seasoned hand.

There comes a morning when you tighten your dressing gown and search for socks.
You retreat inside to drink your coffee. The Archbishop prays for rain.
Gilded dawns and roseate dusks dazzle. Nights draw in.
You hope this year it will be cold enough to buy bundled firewood.
Christmas scents the air and the faithful fast.
Rain rolls in and fills the dams. Snow settles on Troodos.

There comes a morning when you pad outside in bare feet
to drink your coffee in the soft air. Floral confetti speckles the grass,
fields glow gold and green. Scarlet poppies and windflowers stain the verges.
For lunch you pick lapsanès, fluorescent yellow wild mustard,
or agrèlia, slender spears of bitter asparagus,
to fry in olive oil and eggs, drizzled with lemon.

There comes a morning when the swallows return from Africa.
Joyous parabolas of flight as you watch and smile with delight.
Year after year, they rebuild their dun-coloured nest above your door,
raising fledglings high above the gaze of the neighbourhood cats.
Sun scorches the earth, baking the air thick, resinous and hot.
The sea summons you. A siren to salve and soothe the heat.

There comes a morning when the template
of time comes full circle. You smile.
Once more you tip your face snake-like to the dawn.
The days grow short. Persephone departs.


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Image: Vincent van Zalinge on Unsplash

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