Between Itaka and Kefalonia
as we sail in-between islands,
snuggling off island paths
between a host
of pine and olive trees
of the Ionian sea.
We bask beneath a cobalt sky
on a smuggler's cliff
then dip into the emerald sea below.
There's a cutaway reef
between the islands
of Itaka and Kefalonia;
seek it out to dive.
At the quay
one late summer morning
in between breakfast and a sail,
lovers wash each other
in an icy communal shower—
cold feet touch
for tiptoe kisses.
Sniffles in stiff
a telltale sign
autumn is but a touch away,
distance measured by the wind,
its mourning mantle covers the sky.
A sea of Limbo stretches
between where we're docked
and the sunrise out before us,
indeed, sun and sea blind before us,
liquid steel in motion
steaming with the rising sun.
The dying days of August prove
an early fall this year.
I sense the end of summer near;
its finality drawing close.
This first chill—the Mistral's majesty
followed by the rain—all too soon.
Where does the warmth of summer
go chastised between wind and hail?
Where will the summer lovers
now swaddled and sheathed,
quarter over winter?
© 2008 Nina Romano
(A quasi-purloined page from the favorite pastime & diversion notebook
of lepidopterist & morphologist Vladimir Nabokov, or a found poem)
In days gone by, you trod Ithaca trails,
the same year I, too, graduated student,
walked at Six Mile Creek, your happy hunting grounds.
But today, you've long been transmuted.
Now, considering form & structure,
I enter alone, a garden's butterfly world.
I own molecular longings to spot you
in one of your own discoveries,
recalling a commentary about crawling leaf-chewing critters
transforming into flying nectar-sipping beauties.
I wend & weave my way along paths
noting the fabric of bodies:
wrought of sculptured velvety wings,
or roughly hewn scalloped coquille Saint-Jacques.
I spy the Julia, the Coolie, the Isabella.
Ah! and there! the variegated Malachite—mottled, veined, speckled
green, semi-precious as its gem namesake,
far-traveled from native Trinidad and Tobago.
Under a latticework of sky vine,
near the flowered Dutchman's Pipe, replica cocoon unopened,
yet unfurled is like the full-winged moth, so like the drooping flower spread.
Oh! mimic me, says nature imitating nature.
Finally, Da! dear Vladimir, while you spotted an aberration
of the Green Fritillary, here's the Gulf Fritillary,
light brown, white markings silhouette & etch
confounding doubly, grouped as flower sepals,
a calyx to camouflage
a chrysalis—then pupa's metamorphosis—
voilà! a butterfly enchantress.
I stand stone still,
a Buck-eye brushes my shoulder.
Now on my hand a genera of blue, not unlike one of yours,
flits to rest, a respite from flight,
on my hand, uncaressable as air & art.
Beside it, the passionflower attracts mimetically
while from a diverse biosphere,
I drench myself,
in the Spice-bush & the Cracker.
© 2008 Nina Romano
About the Poet:
earned an M. F. A. in Creative Writing from Florida International University in 2001. She's an adjunct professor
of English at St. Thomas University.
Her short fiction, reviews, and poetry appear in
The Rome Daily American; The Chrysalis Reader;
Whiskey Island; Gulf Stream Magazine; Grain; Voices in Italian Americana; Vox; Chiron Review; Driftwood;
Irrepressible Appetites (anthology); and online in Roads Literary Magazine (Window and Silence issues),
Night Train Magazine, and GULFSTREAM!NG (a translation).She is fluent in Spanish and Italian.
Two excerpts from her novel-in-progress, The Secret Language of Women, appear in
Dimsum: Asia's Literary Journal and Driftwood.
Her debut collection of poetry, Cooking Lessons was published in June, 2007 by Rock Press.
The publisher has submitted her book for a Pulitzer Prize.