Khóra Sfakia

I walk among the whores of Sfakia, the once beautiful
sons and daughters hoarding fragments, lording and ladying
and burning from the altars of their lips all instinct
still migratory.

For them the paths of scree to the promontory
decay at the turning of the sky. They hobble to the one tree
where an attendant is also a boatman and negotiate
a passage back.

I am pressed to vertical
earth, hatless, mapless and without sunglasses.
Golden bellied birds flash in a swift geometry upon lapis
lazuli, and I tremble with the thrill
of superstition: What spirits are these? Whose soul cries
from the mouth of the ass?

Now, the water is a Leviathan
and ready to swallow.
It thrashes about, not content with its containment,
neither convinced nor concerned that lungs
need land.

The whores of Sfakia wheeze and sleep with mouths open
and lamps glaring and garments pressed to their eyes.
If their messiah were to come in the night,
I could not follow, for this is not a Diaspora, and the Son
and the Father are only one half
of one God.

I wonder why the earth supports us. We expect so much
and renew so little.

It's Hero and husband, back and forth and up
and down, scattering bones of aborted destinies.
He first slurred the ancient name
of this place, Khóra Sfakia--The whores of Sfakia, he announced
and everyone laughed, then laughed again and laughed
all the next day.
Now, she and he and I are pinks upon the sand.

We offer our knees to the waves, and Hero calls, and her call
takes the body of a gull.
Each of us awakes from the truth of dreams to the lives
of our own making.

The sea moves her skin and enters me.
I do not fear translucence. I do not fear this pregnancy,
for I am with me.

© 2005 Richard Fammerée/Nomadica Musica & Poetry, ASCAP

To experience a performance of Khóra Sfakia
please visit:
and listen to selection #3 (upper right corner).

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