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Dawn at Saint Anna’s Skete

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Agion Oros, 2006

The air is cool and is right thick with birdsong
as our bleary crew files out, of a sudden
disinterred from three sepulchral hours of prayer
into an amber brilliance rioting
outside the cemetery chapel. With bits
of   Greek and English intermixed, the monks
invite us to the portico for coffee,
παξιμάδια, a shot of cold ρακί.
As I say, the air is cool, animate
and lit, and in such light the road already
beckons, so I skip the coffee, pound the shot,
and pocket two hard biscuits. And yes, the way
is broad at first, but narrows soon enough.

παξιμάδια — pahximáthia — Greek biscotti; ρακί — rahkeé — Greek grappa

Source: Poetry (July/August 2013)
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Dawn at Saint Anna’s Skete

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