imageIt’s 1973

i have authentic white tiny flowers in my hair

the way i was supposed to live

walking for my aunt, down the tiny cobblestone roads

in the middle of summer, following the gorgeous bride,

in the village, my parents were born and fell in love,

singing Greek songs in the open air,

watching how the Mediterranean sun plays golden tricks

on my mother’s short 70’s crew cut.

It’s 1979

on the plane with my dad

emergency landing to tend to the sick

his father is dying and everyone is talking about

olive trees. my hair is too short for Europe

my knees too knobby but everyone loves my accent

they say i’m beautiful

i sleep at the top of the hill with my cousin Mimika

and two other cousins have my name and moles.

I find it weird that we all look alike yet no one sees

the sun’s brilliance like me

or notices how the moon shines at twelve years old.

they want all my clothes and look at the brand names

while i care more about the sky and my grandmother’s sad eyes.

she likes to hug me like it’s the last time she will

every hug feels like her last hug.

i felt death hug me when she squeezed and kissed me like that.

we sleep in the afternoon or climb out the window to play with the hens.

It’s 1991

everyone my father loved has died

I’m backpacking through Europe with my best friend

and we visit my childhood

but it’s so long gone,

i slept all through Paros

Santorini saw all our dirty laundry

Pensioni Andre had no mirrors

so we hid well

under the sun’s rays.

Every day lasted forever

every love a lifetime.

It’s 1998

I’m three months pregnant in Agadir

and doing some kind of pregnancy test

it feels like this baby will live

and he does.

my life will never be the same again

i’m a mother


It’s 2001

the ultrasound indicates it’s a girl

and i cry like a baby

praying she’ll stay warm and safe

and never leave me stranded.

with blood and tears.

it’s 2011

everyone sees Greece through the eyes of my children

and we love each other madly

every year

every ocean

brings us closer

to death

and the cup we were

meant to drink



finally alone

is full of memories

and our future is still

full of dreams.

he says no matter how old you are
you are always young to me

you never age.

i love you.

these are the years that grab me

make me cry to our song

and i sign death certificates.

i grab hold of my soul

and shake it a bit

then i silence it.

you thought you knew me

but truly it’s 1973

and the sun is the brightest i’ve ever witnessed

and my mother’s beauty haunts me.

By Christina Strigas

Christina Strigas is a Canadian poet, raised by Greek immigrants, and has written three poetry books. Her latest, Love & Vodka, has been featured by CBC Books in, “Your Ultimate Canadian Poetry List: 68 Poetry Collections Recommended by you.”
LOVE & METAXA, her fourth poetry book is available at all online bookstores..
In her spare time, Christina enjoys foreign cinema, reading the classics, and cooking traditional Greek recipes that have been handed down from her grandmother.

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