Athens intercity bus terminal

By Mary Chydiriotis

where people wait to leave 

the air is thick diesel fumes

humidity human sweat

gravel hot beneath our feet

walls grimy

paint peeling  

dead insects

pacing up and down 

folds of caramel flesh 

long coiled hair grey      

she urges people to buy her wares

toilet roll in hand

also reads palms tells futures

koritsi mou (my girl) 

let me show you your destiny

I shake my head

follow her to the toilet block

grip onto my bag    

motion her away from the putrid stench

apo pou hirthes? She asks (where have you come from?) 

my accented Greek my foreign stamp

her brow creases

Austràlya? Ts Ts Ts Poli makria 

very far this wild outback

kangaroos and crocodiles 

better here it is safe

a fight breaks out in the bus queue

I see two young men scuffle 

the noise rises to a cresendo

men and women argue over position

I walk away her gaze fixed on me

she tempts me return for a reading

your future husband’s name begins with ‘J’

Mary Chydiriotis lives in Melbourne. She is passionate about coffee, dogs, books and social justice. Her poems have been published in local and international anthologies and journals. In 2019, a selection of Mary’s poems featured in ‘Poetry of the Sun and the Sea: from Homer to Slam poetry’, a Greek Studies course at La Trobe University. Loud and Red, her first collection of poetry, was published by Ginnindera Press, in 2020.

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