David Capps

For Konstantinos Katsifas

Descent from the Cross by Yannis Gaitis

Morning’s vibrancy 
.          of white goose down feather,
.          of chipped porcelain transformers on the old path 
.          of the cemetery, flowers and basil strewn across your stone 
.          of grey and white, does not consist 
.          of how things ought to be.

Spring is the nature 
.          of its talk, whirlwinds that in their infancy  
.          will not outlast morning, cloudbursts that end 
.          before the day is done, horta, weeds seeking to put down 
.          roots in an abandoned lot. Yet five-thousand people 
.          lined the streets for you.

Strong winds rattled,
.          broke the glass of another lantern. Shards lay beside 
.          candles lit for you, gently pressed in sand.
.          Houselights from distant villages shine at night 
.          like candles lit for you. All autumn steps 
.          through their windows. 

Where else can your spirit go?
.          After planting the Greek flag on the cross they shot you. 
.          Above your head flew past, in sync: the stars, 
.          the waves and beach, the border and its battlements, 
.          cries of human voices shading into
.          changeless dusk.


About the writer:
David Capps is a philosophy professor at Western Connecticut State University. He is the author of three chapbooks: Poems from the First Voyage (The Nasiona Press, 2019), A Non-Grecian Non-Urn (Yavanika Press, 2019), and Colossi (Kelsay Books, forthcoming). He lives in New Haven, Connecticut.

About Konstantinos Katsifas:  Konstantinos Katsifas was a 35-year-old ethnic Greek construction worker. Katsifas was killed by Albanian Special Forces in the Greek-Albanian border region for raising the Greek flag during an Albanian celebration.

Image: Descent from the Cross by Yannis Gaitis 1923-1984. Mixed media on canvas. 195.5 × 150 cm. 1984. By free license.