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Donna J. Gelagotis Lee



take us on, as if we
lived outside ourselves as well
as in, as if day were
so scientifically grounded we
believed only in time. That’s why structure
is so appealing—the house,
its rooms, the business day.
Even vacation has a beginning
and end, lulling in the middle.
Time is a metaphor fulfilled.
I find it dripping off
our glasses, the ones we wear,
the ones we drink from, the ones
we used to watch time slip
through the thin waist
of the body—and so the body
dances in the shadows
and so at dusk I stand
still as timelessness, the breath
of day going out to sea
like so many small fishing boats.
The women turn on the light
in the hall, put the curtains
up around the nail, unlock
or lock the door. They wait
in the kitchen, serving coffee
or supper as each person
comes in—before the women leave again
to walk where the light hangs from above
like a cryptic moon, and the sea
opens its mouth with a wild



Biding My Time

Up the street, down the street,
as if God were searching for me,
the light bounced off concrete—
there was nothing but light,

all shadow suspended,
a burst of day shooting
right through me as I pedaled
my stationary bicycle, looking

out of the open glass sliding doors,
smelling the day warming up,
the dirt in the garden,
and the grass watered by the gardener.

Across the street, and not visible
as I pedaled: a plot of vacant land
where poppies and hórta grew
free in the suburb of an encroaching city.

As I rode through the hour,
I must have seemed an anomaly
to my neighbors, the women
whose chores were exercise enough,

who couldn’t understand why I
would pedal and go nowhere,
why I would pedal and do
nothing—why, you could

make bread in that time,
the time when the sun would rise
directly overhead, when you could
spin on the head of time,

where the light would infuse you
and the breath of day give you fire!


Donna J. Gelagotis Lee's poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Bitter Oleander, CALYX: A Journal of Art and Literature by Women, The Cortland Review, Crab Orchard Review, Feminist Studies, The Midwest Quarterly, Wind, and other journals. Donna lived in Greece for many years. She is a freelance editor in New Jersey.
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