Attunement to Thera

Among Cycladic islands a confection extrudes,
iced in white and vibrating light—every color—
served on a blue plate of Aegean Sea.

                               Come closer.
The white is crumbling stucco, crusty layers
of orchid and ochre. The hues excite one another
like lovers who slip into corners for trysts.

                               They kiss
as the sun sidesteps from behind a blue dome
and backlights the curve of the shape against
angular forms arranging a second city of shadows.

                               You walk
across pebbled paths. Rivulets of rain run home,
down terraced strata of gold, red, and black
racing a funicular down the inner crescent of Thera.

                               Smell the rain.
The caldera catches the drops in the witch’s basin. It
rises as steam and shifts through the vent of Nea Kameni
where priests perform as tableau vivant.

                               Silhouetted by
the starkness of a Byzantine shrine, their tall hats
echo the stovepipes that protrude from the rooftops.
An obbligato tinkle and the clip clop of mules is

                               Heard, felt and seen.
The accompaniment of bouzouki plays the hymn to
Santorin. Children still box beneath ash and pumice
and St. Irini blows her blessing toward those

                               Who can see
where a cross points that bends as she breathes.

Betty Bell Brown

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