Family Secret

Maja Lukic

When the new and different

arrives, it

knocks incessantly

at the brain: this is

the last time, this

will not happen again, this

is different. Pay attention.

She had been sick before,

had lost her hair, lost

color, vomited before,

had her ovaries


This time: she ran off to Greece

for the last time.

Begged her doctor

to delay chemo.

She let Tolo’s sun wash

her face, the water cool

the tips of her fingers,

that blue laughter

of Grecian water.

She sent reports

back to me in New York—

the donkeys on Hydra,

Leonard Cohen’s house,

and the woman who

came out of it.

We who said everything

could not speak about

the one thing. Instead,

she sent photos:

the women, the men,

the cats in restaurants: they eat for free,

she laughed.

Her in the middle of the Ancient Theater

at Epidaurus

in her sandals and bright pink shirt.

Her among the ruins

of Katagogion.

Incandescent flowers:

pink, purple, canary yellow.


and the white, white stones

and the blistered sun

and the sea, all that turquoise hurt,

which was the distance between

what she felt

and what she could say to me.

Her on the beach wrapped

in a blue shawl,

waiting for the sea to

take her. Her standing

on the banks of the Lethe,

smiling and smiling

into the camera,

each photograph

a caesura on the endless trip.

about the author