Image from a postcard sketched between city and dragon
by Liz Bourke
Athens, April 2012
A thinking woman sleeps with monsters. — Adrienne Rich
I see you in snapshots a shadow against the bright Mediterranean sun like a broken wing like a mirage heat-stained in my eye. * Tomorrow the breeze will stir the thistledown through dusty streets, over the awnings of kafenia and kiosks selling cola, crisps, postcards, dreams St. George on a magnet dragon dead at his feet. * The dragon always dies and lives again to die until the world's end, until Jormungandir lets go his tail until Typhon bursts his bonds and casts Olympus down) * There are bones in your hands fragile as eggshells fragile as suicide flowers where Dimitris Christoulas died. You put them together although they crumble although dust drains like mercury from your palms. * The bog swallows them down like a dragon's gullet in the wet silence compressed to coal and slow-burning fire and hollowed-out reminders. What you find beneath burns your fingers. * Today, outside the museum, riot police slouch in shadow, drinking cafe frappe from clear plastic cups, discussing Olympiakos. Yesterday, I saw you grinning at a gas-mask slung over a teenager's shoulder in Exarcheia square like a phantom boulder too heavy to shift your breath like a graveyard carrion between your teeth furnace-bellows heaving beneath your gleaming hide — * The bones you hold are dust and quicksilver memories of cities moments of change when the mirage moves and the city shifts before your eye and you see us all before you rise.
Liz Bourke is reading for a postgraduate degree in Classics at Trinity College, Dublin. In her copious spare time, she has opinions about things on the internet.
When asked what mask would choose her, she replied as follows: "A mask choose me? Now I have an image in my head of a Greek theatre mask — a satyr one, all gnarled lines and beard and kakon ton prosopon — pursuing me around, trying to attach itself to my face. I hope that if a mask did choose me, it would be something a little more noble of aspect... maybe a wolf's-head, or perhaps a discreet Columbina in pale leather — but only if I get to wear it with a dashing and old-fashioned hat"
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