ON THE WAY TO THE RUINS by Meredith Stricker

between worlds with eyes half closed in the heat
she walks uphill in the middle of a stone path
wearing a pale green summer dress, the color of leaves
she moves without haste in Mithymna sunlight past her dying
all times, all places, all trees and rivers meet here in this ink
in this thought, these cells, sensations, this possibly unclean wind
“everywhere is here” is the “pan” in “demic”
my pen contains then loosens hollows in sand
where at least six Least Sandpipers disappear
into shelter made of shadow as the space between
seeing and memory opens aqua doors
to the courtyard, carmine red to dry fields
all of Asia Minor across a narrow sea, all of Troy and fate
because I cannot roam far, it’s possible to go everywhere
because when my mother met death a few weeks ago
she gave witness in all her times, places and languages
the dead spoke freely to her, the far was near
and habit upended, one day after a gap of fifty-some years
she wanted a cigarette, so we cut up plastic straws
and smoked companionably and elegantly together as though
at one of her ornate Budapest cafes with its precise waiters
if we would walk to the outskirts of the village, we might
notice the air is sweet, bees swarm white-flowered hedges
on the way to the ruined house and its row of cypress
the flowers and ruins are both immune and vulnerable
existent and transient, ink loves the dark cypress
and thorns and loves where the river re-creates
itself daily in unknowable, sensate contours
this transparent present of shifting disease vectors
past wetlands where a black dog spins and leaps
Meredith Stricker is a visual artist and poet working in cross-genre media. Her most recent collection re-wilding was awarded the Dorset prize and is forthcoming. She co-directs visual poetry studio, a collaborative that focuses on architecture in Big Sur and other projects to bring together artists, writers, musicians and experimental forms. meredithstricker.com