Lily Jarman-Reisch

Lily Jarman-Reisch

Lily Jarman-Reisch graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She has been a journalist in Washington, D.C., and Athens, Greece, where she lived aboard a small boat she sailed throughout the Aegean and Ionian Seas. She has held administrative and teaching positions at the Universities of Michigan and Maryland, sailed across the Atlantic, and hiked on four continents. Her poems appear or are forthcoming in 3rd Wednesday, Snapdragon, The Fourth River, 1807, The Military Review, Route 7 Review, The Dewdrop, Gleam, and international literary journals.

On Naxos

Too tired from the trip to unpack,
I stretch out on the bed,
invite a nap.
There will be time to explore Apiranthos,
ancient kouroi lying in the grass,
faded frescoes of the Panagia Drossiani;
to place paper and pen on a small table
under the whitewashed window
open to wisteria,
Paros beyond;
sip wine on a terrace above the Portara
as light turns from amber to indigo;
walk the streets of the chora
toward a weathered table fragrant
with loaves from a village oven,
lamb clothed in garlic, green-gold oil;
toast the two weeks before us,
me with my notebooks,
he with his easel en plein air;
time for the Aegean
to fill the bowls of our gaze
and slumber there,
in the laps of our eyes,
the blue we will see
long after we leave.

Night Visit to Venice During the Pandemic

I drift on canals,
wander narrow walkways
held by mystery and honeyed light,
lose myself in mazelike streets,
unsure of my way back
and not caring,
celebrate with gelato;
roam a square
where a girl plays Vivaldi on glass bells,
a goldfinch sings from a balcony;
stop by stalls of souvenirs,
stroke a seller’s silk,
seek shade in the shadowed apse
of an empty church.
At a tiny trattoria at twilight,
I linger over
a second sorbetto,
boats gliding on the lagoon,
passersby on passeggiata;
accept a sip of Prosecco,
a boy’s serenade on mandolin;
stroll the streets by starlight,
come at dawn to the piazza,
make my way among
murmuring pigeons,
gondolas lolling in the canals,
drowsy dogs at bakery doors,
in a morning young
with scents of fresh bread and coffee
from waking cafés
lit like earthly stars in the pre-dawn sky.

I wake to talk of overrun morgues,
the refrigerated dead trucked to mass burial pits,
to furnaces burning still more
strangled by plague.


You laid on the beach,
sand sliding through your fingers
while the Aegean cooled your toes.
You’d brought a book, a towel,
left your watch in our room
above the Portara.
The sand-specked book
lay open to the same place
through the broad afternoon,
a day with no aim,
held in the curve
of the day before
when we made our way up
the narrow streets of the chora,
came to a high terrace,
home of the island’s oldest family
and its museum of antiquity.
Invited in to its hidden holdings,
your love of history, our ticket there,
you held a coin
imprinted with Alexander the Great
in the palm of your hand
that would soon be freed from time,
sifting sand on the beach below.

Poetry in this post: © Lily Jarman-Reisch
Published with the permission of Lily Jarman-Reisch