C. E. Giaimo


Would you hold my hand, put my hair behind my ear, sip
water from the same straw if you knew the truth?

This was the long day spent in and out of museums, observing
cracked vases and statues, waiting to see them twitch or wink.

The long day of artifacts, eyes ground closed, hands poised
between breasts, arms coiled over generous stomachs,

evidence that they are fertile, and goddess. This is after Náfplio,
where we stopped for lunch by the sea, smelled salt, heard

a gang of boys throwing explosives into the water instead of skipping
stones. After the malnourished dog, her nipples swollen (pregnant

or ill), scavenged for water. I offered up a glass from a nearby
café, placed it on the ground against the backdrop of disgusted

shop owners, watched her drink it up for her thirst
and the thirst of the child caught somewhere inside her.

After all this and we are inside, in the damp shade of an emptied
tomb. I project the scent of dead bodies and it comforts, clasped

in this beehive womb, the wasps acoustic, drifting into my sight
like dust. Then I have the chills, and it is too much:

this rancid air, these wasps, the threat of the sting. We move
on, through fields bared by the goat, the land scraggled, tufted.

Nothing can grow here. But they rise each morning, fertile
or futile, until the callused hand of a farmer drags a statue from

its soil, and for nine months the government probes.
The subconscious mind does not know anything, although

it brought me here with you. And has it fallen from treetops
or grown from the ground? This essence of husks and dead matter.

You touch my hand, take my picture, you tell me to unwind.
See Agamemnon, his face cleft into the rocks, his brows together,

his eyes wedged shut.

C. E. Giaimo studied English and creative writing at Princeton University and has also studied for a master's degree in England. She is currently working in New York.

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