February 2018 Competition Winner


William Lythgoe


I sit outside our apartment

holding a glass of ouzo

that glints in the sun.


Across the bay the Old Town

waits for us.


Tonight we’ll stroll

back in time

past the supermarket

past the bus station

past the harbour

where the ferry is unloading


and on towards the white churches

that stretch up the hillside

to the ruined walls of the Venetian castle.


Just past the town hall

we’ll stop


and Melissa will welcome us

into her family’s taverna

facing the sea.


Her brother, Ianos, will take us

into the kitchen, where their mother

dominates the scene.

We’ll see, smell and maybe

taste what’s cooking

and make our choice.


Then sit on blue chairs

at a blue table

and order half a kilo of house wine

and wait

for the goat with plums and onions.


Her husband will stroke his moustache,

warm up his creaking accordion

and two or three of their children

will creep downstairs to listen


as his song expands

into a blue-sounding stew

of shifting semitones and twisting tempos

they call rembetika.