PoetryIssue 21 | October 2014

Santé

by Zoe Karathanasi

I google Santé cigarettes and the lady appears.
An oriental blonde with perfect brows, your guide, iconic,
who taught you to be ironic, indulge in pleasure. 

This is the backward head tilt I infinitely mimicked,
regard de braise, unfiltered.
But never before have I noticed her white blouse.

Ready to fix a broken cigarette, a broken heart, perhaps
yours, mine, by wetting a flake of rolling paper
on her tongue, dressing its wound.

Up in the Pomak villages and mahalas,
another day of toiling in the fields is done.
It is summer, the sun is at its zenith

and the bright green leaves
are strung up in bunches to dry out
like rows of fresh octopuses and cuttlefish,

while you play with her hair in your pocket,
then tap your cigarette, your fingers nicotine stained,
her face like sealing wax;

letting the tobacco settle, so that it burns longer. 
You do not rush your draws—this is the sun-cured
oriental secret—smoking for pleasure and living long.

About the author

Travelling is in Zoe’s blood; she’s Greek by birth, currently living in Paris, and her favourite places on earth are Scotland and Thrace.  Although travelling is grounding, she has always wanted to go to the moon. Read her work in Ink, Sweat and Tears, Open Mouse of Poetry Scotland, and Weyfarers Poetry Magazine.

Read our current issue:

Poetry

Two poems by Anne Babson
Vignette, Townhouse, 9 a.m. by Troy Cunio
Night Becomes Day Over the West by Megan Foley
Yukon River Aurora by D. B. Goman
Two Poems by David Havird
Cretan Love Letter by Emily Linstrom
Holland by Rick Mullin
Fear in Kenya by Kristina Pfleegor
The Lounge Lizard by Ed Shacklee
Two Poems by Sarah J. Sloat
Night Flight by Vicki Stannard
Koinonia Farms by Alina Stefanescu
Thessaloniki, Four a.m. by Anastasia Vassos
Imaginary Oceans by Jason Warren
Two Poems by F. J. Williams

Postcard prose

It’s Salty by Kelly Hill

Travel notes

Anchorage in the Great Land by Karen Benning
The Value of Small Money by Megan Hallinan
Screensaver by Sandra Larson
Thirty Cents by Tommy McAree
Gokarna by Kate McCahill
Going Places by Rachel Miller-Howard
Susanville CA: Notes From The Road by Susan Volchok