ROULA IOANNIDOU-STAVROU

As published in Volume 11, NO 3, June 2014
HE LOVES ME, HE LOVES ME NOT
I
Had you had just one more petal, dear daisy,
he would have loved me! said the girl.
II
I’ll stop pulling your petals off, dear daisy.
Time passed and your secret he hurled at me! said the woman.
 
ON TWO “I LOVE YOU” OF ADOLESCENCE 
He
apparently
knew something
suspected something
and wrote “I love you”
in snow.
She 
probably
knew nothing
neither did she suspect anything
and carved “I love you”
into rock.
 
UNEXPECTED PARTING
The point is not
that they parted so unexpectedly 
neither that they loved each other so much
and now “how can they bear it?”
nor that some day they will regret it.
The point is 
that they were left in the box
those cookies 
she
so tenderly
baked for him.
 
THE LAST SUITCASE
– Open it. 
They should be there.
– What if they’re not?
What if our last hope fades away? 
 
VALUABLE CONSIDERATION
We’ll make a bargain with the sun.
They were adamant about it.
They made a bargain with the sun
and it worked!
They gave the sun their soul
and bought off its light.
 
DIAGNOSTIC XRAY
I detect swelling of the lacrimal glands behind your smile
a deep bleeding wound behind your anger
acute frenzy behind your silence.
Your desire has reached its peak, madam.
DIAGNOSTIC BLOOD TEST
A tempest and unrest commands
your veins, madam.
Great tumult in the blood flow.
You had better check your heart.
 
EDITING
Agreed, he told them.
If you insist 
then I will tell you my life story (semicolon) 
but on one condition.
First you will allow me
to pass by the editing room.
 
REVENGE OF THE HEART 
At the very end
the heart avenges the mind.
When the heart stops beating
the mind also dies.
Translated by Despina Pirketti

*******************************************

As published in Volume 9, NO 2, June 2012
CANCELLATION
In the end, the cloud passed
without leaving behind one drop of rain.
Needlessly the umbrellas had been bought.
Needlessly those who came without raincoats worried.

THE APOLOGY OF A STAR
THAT FELL TO EARTH
Forgive me
your wish was not granted.
I apologize for not making
your dream a reality.
For someone else I fell last night.
It was not your turn.

CARELESSNESS
We thought 
that we had hid the sadness
behind the drawn curtains.
We did not notice that
the light lying in wait behind it
was inexorably casting its shadow.

THE UNEXPECTED DEATH OF A LOVE
The unexpected death of their love
at such a young age
shocked no one;
people were not wearing black.
Flags did not fly at half-mast;
no three-day mourning was declared.
The funeral was not carried out “at cost of the state”:
nor was it attended
by government representatives and a crowd of people;
wreaths were not laid 
by parties, guilds or organizations;
no eulogy was given
by a dignitary
not even by a friend or schoolmate.
Not even they mourned as they should have 
with dark glasses and the fitting abstinence
from the small pleasures of daily life.
LIKE EPIGRAMS

A STRAIGHT LINE
Has no angles
to catch the light.
No embraces
to hold the warmth of the sun;
always cruel and cold.

JOY
Insufferable
when it cannot be shared.

FOR THE FALLEN AND THE MISSING 
OF THE 1974 TURKISH INVASION OF CYPRUS 
Your omnipresent absence
submerges spirit and soul.
FAILING GRADE
You do not pass, heart.
Every year, you repeat the class.
You fail the grade.
LOVELESS HEART
How differently it beats
without love!
MISSED OPPORTUNITY
He said no
and she left his life.
Without another word
she left his life forever.
If only she had given him more time
to think more clearly
to feel regret
to change his mind perhaps...
If only she had promised
to pass by one more time...

INATTENTION
Life has caught him without homework again!
Again he has failed the exams!
And he had been told:
When life teaches
no one can afford to be absent
no once can afford to be daydreaming.

ATTIC
Dark as it is
and with dust covering things 
how can one see
the wounds on their bodies
the sadness on their surfaces?
Yet, no one ever foresaw
that neither darkness nor dust 
could conceal
their sighs.
And they heard them.
Now they know.

Translated by Irena Joannides
From the collection THE WEIGHT OF THE RAIN, 
Literatura and Artes Publications, 2011. 
 
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