Literary LEO 2014

Something Different — 2nd Place

Jan 28, 2014 at 9:06 pm

Small Talk at Nikos’s Grill House
by Jean Tucker


No one gets married any more says Marko

and flashes his mobile phone to show

the six-month-old who has his hair, his eyes.

This spanakopita is like a dish sponge.

You ought to taste my mom’s.

Hans, the ophthalmologist, has a spouse —

his second. Françoise asks

if it is true the human race is growing

progressively more myopic from too much text.

Hans says a study is under way with chickens

and sketches a cross-section of an eyeball

on the paper tablecloth between

the bread basket and the plate of cheese.

I wonder aloud to no one in particular

what sort of reading matter one would proffer

to chickens to test the eye hypothesis.

Jane fills her wine glass and declares

that she could never eat an animal

she had not killed herself. The black-eyed peas

twinkle at her from their bed of parsley.

She thumbs another message to the guy

who stood her up last night.

Andy has cleaned his plate

and reaches across Hans’s bow to spear

the last ripe olive from the cabbage salad.

He was baptized Orthodox, he says.

Me too, pipes Mary, in my Yiayia’s village.

And didn’t it take days to get the oil off?

Denise, eyes rimmed in kohl,

sits straight and solemn as the Minoan priestess

in the fresco unearthed at Akrotiri.

Only her fingers move as she rolls a cigarette.

She has found the one she wants to wed,

she states: It is herself. She murmurs

inch’Allah, vows to invite us all.

In the wedding video her dress

will foam with lace. She will be passing

the white crown hand-to-hand above her head

as dolphins play about her naked shoulders.