I remember the sight of the olive trees whitened
and drooping from the weight of the arid dust;
the lonely, barren, rock-strewn hills wracked
and severed by devastating earthquakes,
vibrating from the heat of the merciless sun,

the sleepy-eyed burrow meandering
down the cobblestone street with a cumbersome
wooden saddle strapped on its back; the early
morning cry of the vegetable peddler hawking
his produce still damp from the morning dew;

the licorice smell of ouzo drifting
from the cafes; the aroma of frying calamari;
kokoretsi sizzling on the spit; loukoumades
bubbling in hot oil; the pastry shops
beckoning you with their savory sweets.

I remember standing on the balcony watching
the Aegean Sea with its rippling waves laughing
and sparking in the noonday sun; the siesta,
after the noon meal, taken in a room cooled
and darkened by closed wooden shutters,

and at dusk sitting at the wooden tables
lined up outside the cafes, sipping the hot
Turkish coffee and watching families, hand in hand
with their children, parade up and down the square,
all dressed up in their Sunday finery;

nights spent with family and friends in tavernas,
toasting with retsina, savoring the spicy foods,
straining to understand the strange language,
delighted when I could, and warming my body
with their love, laughter and friendship.

(Note: “Chios Remembered” received first place in one of the categories in the 2010 Poetry Society of Michigan poetry contest)