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David Havird.

© David Havird.
Used by permission.
All rights reserved.


The god, his humors petrified as veins in roughhewn marble, was going down feet first from the quarry, down to the port where there is now a whitewashed village — from there to the other side of the sea,

Kouros of Apollonas. From Wikipedia.

which moves in front of the tables, the wobbly blue and white taverna, only enough to glisten. I climbed until I had the whole of him at my feet. I had as well as a wedge of spinach pie
a plastic half-liter of Naxian red. It came to me to stream a swallow down on that colossal archaic rockhead, effaced though he had been by wind and rain — as also sprang to mind this god
as a fidgety infant snug in the crook of an arm, his older brother jangling grapes to disenthrall the spirited boy from who knows what is making him fuss, while I’d inspirit a lull, would rouse the weather
inveined in coolheaded marble. Up the mountainside, the flight of slippery marble slabs, into the quarry schoolchildren surged, to scramble up the unfinished god, to scurry over him,
between the stubs of reaching arms to plop, from bearded chin to feet (a pedestal this column never stood on, much less danced as Dionysus) to heel-walk slide — a revel of wind and rain in the vineyards.


Before dawn even, zipping past the exit to Myrtle Beach … That’s where my girlfriend was who had a summer job there singing. But I was heading north to see Janet. Hot and muggy, the weather changed at Richmond to rainy, not with a torrent of blades but a drizzle of pins, and chilly. I had to borrow a flannel shirt from Janet — a man’s, which fit me. Janet was renting, along with her college roommate and one other girl, a townhouse in Georgetown. Sometimes, while they were at work, I’d venture afield to a gallery, Corcoran, Phillips; mostly I browsed the neighborhood bookstores and otherwise loitered. I had to ask the girls, because I was getting so many probing looks from guys, if maybe I had an effeminate manner. “You have,” she said, the matronly one whose name escapes me, “just a nice face.” I slept on the living-room sofa. Sunburned, itching like mad, I’d scroll the peeling skin off my shoulders and roll it into a little ball, then flick it. Overhead, the women were getting ready for bed, their heels conveying thunder while I read by lamplight a poem in Harper’s by Robert Penn Warren, whom Janet and I and her housemate Felicia had met: “A Problem in Spatial Composition,” in which a hawk, like something divine, unseen above a window-framed vista composed of a stone scarp and forest, at sunset enters the frame as if from forever only to go “in an eyeblink.” My wife, who was then my girlfriend, who sang at the beach where noontide had blistered my shoulders — my wife says it’s all about sex. Not Warren’s poem, this story of mine. The thunder, having slung flimsy bras across the shower rod, puts up its feet — the women, nesting. Molting, I clasp the neck of that shirt, whoever’s it is, which I’ll shake out in the morning. The weather whistles past windowsills and under the door, and though it sings like blades’ cold steel, I picture within the lamplight’s moon on the ceiling a hawk whose shrills are high noon’s killing rays.


Beyond the pines, which hid, except for the chimney, a closed-off-season beachside taverna, from up on the slope where, relics ourselves, we lodged in a derelict windmill, the blue looked firm enough to float a rock
without a ripple of worry. Even so, my gaze, as though white-robed, a savior, skimmed to the boat in the cove, then stepped from the solid blue of the bay to shelves of bluer schist, a pilgrim,
on up to the whitewashed church on its finger of rock to exchange with the icon a kiss for a healing look from the Virgin. Wind by evening. We took our sunset walk around the wind-chopped cove,
the sailboat-pitching cove, along the cliffside path despite not only the wind but also the crowd thronging the church. A wedding, yes. Among the dusty cars that choked the lot
was one in a wind-whipped frenzy of streamers. The spirit aroused, of course, in us a vision of ours. By ten, electric guitars were yowling. The pines — were they dancing with wind or light from the woken taverna? The wind
swelled with the odor of meat fat sizzling on coals; the taverna was smoking. Or wasn’t it thunder that shook us, that fiendish, vibrating bass, and cats, the feral ones fed by our landlord to battle the vipers, serpents of lightning?
In bed as though on board, we drowsily hoisted a sail too suddenly pregnant with wind — our rope-burned hands like urgent semaphores, like creaking blades up on the slope conducting the wind.

Text prepared by:


Havird, David. Weathering: Poems and Recollections. Macon, GA: Mercer University Press, 2020. © David Havird. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

“Weather on Naxos” first appeared in Ergon; “Molting” in Literary Matters; and “Wedding Wind” in The Hopkins Review.

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