Four Poems by Anastasia Vassos

It’s Nobody’s Fault

Night is an old woman snoring
& daybreak yet to be born.

I woke up alone.
I stand on the balcony of our pensione

& watch you stroll Rome’s stradas
lost, at 5am, heart perforated

your body weary & apart

while you think of
another woman & her yellow hair

spread across a pillow
like a river’s tributaries.

I will love you
into my own drowning.

The river inside your eyes
has overflowed its banks

the Colosseum’s arches peer at you
as you stalk twilight.

You’re a book
about to be written.

Learn to forgive everyone
who’s ever hurt you.

Sign your name in dirt
with the toe of your shoe.


Cassandra Leaves Troy

princess at the mouth
of Troy whose luck
with Apollo
ran dry, ironically
who saw the noble Greeks
inside the belly of the horse
not believed
let’s call her
a stained copy
another life
that could have been

she’s the tall girl
escaping through her window
backwards her long coltish legs
one then the other
retracting night
her white gown
left on the floor
in a pool of moonlight


Icarus As Rust

      after Paul McIntire

In supposed flight, suspended.
You were a hawk
bones made of lace
from the sun’s collar.

Past your archaic time
rusted porous wings
and contrapposto
weightlessness and gravity.

Your chiton strangles you.
Red dust sun curls his lip
blood moon curls
her silver tongue.


Late Afternoon

Birds circle:
rich entertainment
and in the middle of it
nature not quite dead.
The sun’s blade makes
one last stab
across my back.

I am leaving you,
October of my grieving—
your gray head
your orange skirt flouncing
round your ankles.
I drive east in low gear
along the unmuscled arm of Ohio
heading toward November.

And as the sun falls behind me
trees huddle to mask
disaster. Darkness, unwelcome
takes over the sky.
I thank the stars for making
a colander of night.

I look up and ahead
through heaven’s perforation.
The landscape shrivels past
I am Orpheus in a dress
and Eurydice blind.
I drive under an overpass.
Lights strain, headlights on the bridge
gleam like the eye
in the head of an oracle.


Anastasia Vassos is the author of Nike Adjusting Her Sandal (Nixes Mate, 2021). Her chapbook The Lesser-Known Riddle of the Sphinx was a finalist for the 2021 Two Sylvias Chapbook Prize. She is a reader for Lily Poetry Review, speaks three languages, and is a long-distance cyclist. She lives in Boston.

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