Find one thing that won’t go away
Pack seafood in a cannery
Stop people in the street
Ask them if the sun has exploded.
While your head aches in the morning
the day all brick and no windows
get good at practical things.
There are four thousand three hundred hours of sunshine in a year in the Sahara
but you already know this.
On a June evening at dusk
work your way back to me, fifteen years.
You said, we’re walking on air
this could be a harrowing place
my question to you is how will we hold off distress.
I could have said a lot of things
but those gray blue shadows held destruction,
a series of low concussions.
It will be impossible to talk about me without mentioning you,
you said then and your voice has lasted longer because it is only an echo,
the past, a one-way street.
The sun has not exploded but is dying,
five million years left
write that down.
Beneath the desert there is rock
but everyone is tired.
You emerge from water running in the bathroom
from the whiskey I pour myself as I undress
there you are, there you are
someone says in the middle of the night
and I know it is you.
Fani Papageorgiou’s book When You Said No, Did You Mean Never? (Shearsman Press, UK, 2013) won the Hong Kong Poetry Prize, judged by Ha Jin. Her second book, Dolores Park, will be published in the U.S. in 2014. Her poems have appeared in more than thirty magazines and literary journals in the U.S. and the U.K.