Where Words Go
by Becky Dennison Sakellariou
PETERBOROUGH New Hampshire—(Weekly Hubris)—1/9/12—Michael Fakinos was a dear friend, colleague, therapist . . . and a wonderful, warm-hearted, intelligent man. He died, out of the blue, the summer of 2010, and I still miss him. One of those damned losses that is so hard to take in. I wrote this poem to help myself imagine him at peace.
“The Morning Before He Died”
He opens the refrigerator door, stands there, barefoot, reflecting
on mustard jars, cheeses wrapped in waxed grocery-store paper,
the lemonade, a row of pale yellow peaches, yesterday’s left-over pasta.
He briefly forgets what he is looking for.
The cool air lifts his skin and he silently wishes he could climb
into the middle shelf, lie there and wait until the midday heat lowers itself,
until the cicadas shut up and the tiny night owls began their whooping.
He grins at the idea, takes the lemonade pitcher, closes the door,
pours a glass, and then remembers – he had been looking
for the pickled capers his aunt had brought over on Monday
– she knows he loves them tart and prickly –
so he could add them to the sliced tomatoes, tiny rolls of anchovies,
soft white mizithra cheese and chopped purple onions
he thought he would put together for supper.
Jill was coming over, Dimitri would join them later.
It was too hot to eat anything else, this would be fine with lots of olive oil,
barley rusks to soak up the mixed juices, a glass of chilled Moskofilero
and good talk between three old friends sitting out on the terrace
under the grape arbor now hanging heavy with fat sweet pink fruit.
He loves his little place, his great-grandmother’s old bakery
he’s been renovating on Naxos for the past three years.
He likes the way he has kept the rooms spare and simple,
uneven stone floors, white walls, bits of blue and green colors around,
his low bed with its cool cotton sheets set right under the window
that looks down the steep valley toward the changing sea, the olive trees
that lean into the wind like the old men in the coffee house, bent, gray, steady.
He has always secretly thought that if he had his way,
this would be a good bed to die in.