A white fishing boat in a blue bay near a shore with red-roofed buildings in front of a cloudless blue sky.

Too much time spent wondering how I got here,
this place where June screams itself to sleep at night,
when what does it matter if the blacktop’s still
on a low simmer when I walk the dog before bed.

So, I turn on Almodóvar’s Átame! to make sense
of it all with Madrid’s steamy reds, balmy yellows,
& countless shades of turquoise: on walls, tiles,
fabrics, even in the makeup contouring the faces

of the flawed but loveable characters winking
from an underground that’s since been dug up,
rebranded, and scattered over so many Holy Sees.

I gasp at the first shot of Antonio Banderas,
impossibly young in a t-shirt tucked into faded
jeans that carbon dates the film

the year of our Lord nineteen hundred
& eighty-nine, the end of some years
I might rather forget, but for the Aegean,

& a raft of American art students
deposited in a small Greek fishing village.
We all bought those cheap leather sandals

from the tourist shops & spent the summer
harshing on local tobacco, & squeezing out
copious amounts of blue paint:

cerulean, cobalt, ultramarine, Prussian,
trying to determine which combination
might come closest to capturing the views
of ancient Ephesus in the distance.

Come September the others left, but I stayed on
& painted more blue paintings from the floor above
the small taverna where I ate fried smelt & watched
the sea go golden earlier & earlier each evening.


Photo by Dimitris Siskopoulos, used and adapted under CC.