Of all the things to see in Athens
a quarter mile of sloped steps to the Temple of Athena
the sixteen remaining Corinthian columns of Zeus
the olympic stadium standing after two World Wars
and the many dogs that call home
these annals of lost human history.
To feel the sun in true mid summer
is to enjoy skin burnt from your arms
to sweat from your calves into your shoes
to scrape the salty grit from your scalp
and to dry out, finally, only to smell like wet dog.
To take cover under an olive tree
to lean on a stoop, half uncomfortable, looking into port
as international freight comes and goes
the ships claim Turkey, Italy, Morocco
the freight mundane, the same:
Only here is "Foreignness" tolerable.
Peter, a Greek limo driver sits beside me
and from a silver embellished case, he meticulously fingers
a cigarette between his lips and lights.
From the corner of his mouth
he begins and ends his story:
"Thirty days of mandatory holiday in Greece,
It's a shame, you Americans work too much."
M.C.--Photo and words. Athens, Greece. 2007.