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A poem inspired by the Greek Island from Impolite favourite Amy Barone

Creative Commons kdask


I knew those days were numbered —

riding on the back of a motorino at midnight, racing the moon,
as the Ionian Sea’s turquoise cover lit our way.


I knew someday I’d leave Europe and August breaks.
I’d bid addio to my freelance journalist job,
become more responsible and vacation in less exotic locales.

So I chose to savor every minute in Zante,
birthplace of poet Ugo Foscolo,
precious time with friends from Milan,
like Fiona, a schoolteacher whose mother had roots to the island.


Greek poet Homer celebrated Zante in The Iliad and The Odyssey.
He claimed its first inhabitant was the son of the King of Troy.
Venice ruled and protected the island for a spell.
A pilgrimage to Navagio Beach’s 1981 shipwreck marked our nod to history.


Channeling Artemis, we explored the island late mornings,
found beaches far from the hard-drinking English,
where we hoped to spot Zante’s famously protected sea turtles.


We whiled away afternoons with Greek gods,
who served up fresh grilled calamari and wine so pure,
hangovers became a thing of the past.


Doing nothing was everything.
Staring into the sea became our pastime.
On Zante, I paired up with Adonis,


an ecologist who lived year-round on the island.
He wore his broodiness and dark, wavy hair real well.
Fiona partnered with Yanni, and we danced our nights away.


One afternoon, en masse, we set sail for a nearby island,
home to a sole monk.
Made the beach our kitchen and bedroom
until awakened by a flock of sheep taking a walk in the rising sun.


Leaving Zante for Milan wasn’t hard.
Most dreams have an endpoint.
One summer, Greece’s heart took me prisoner.



Taken from Amy's chapbook Kamikaze Dance

Amy Barone

About the Writer

Amy Barone’s new poetry collection, We Became Summer, from New York Quarterly Books, will be released in early 2018. She wrote chapbooks Kamikaze Dance (Finishing Line Press) and Views from the Driveway (Foothills Publishing). Her poetry has appeared in Café Review, Gradiva, Paterson Literary Review, Sensitive Skin, and Standpoint (UK), among other publications and anthologies. She spent five years as Italian correspondent in Milan for Women's Wear Daily and Advertising Age. Barone participates at spoken-word events in New York City, New Jersey and Philadelphia. She belongs to PEN America Center and the brevitas online poetry community that celebrates the short poem. A native of Bryn Mawr, PA, Barone lives in New York City.


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