About the Feature

Image by Lauren J. Brown

Listen to our podcast of this poem here.


On our hike between Thira
and Oia, the gods sit at our backs
and cover our bare shoulders in light.
Married only weeks, we reached

for each other’s hands to cross
the sharpest, most treacherous
rocks, the sea waving soft
a dead drop down.

Married only weeks, I let you
climb the caldera anyway:
new wives never lose
their husbands while these gods

keep watch, even if gravity
or curiosity wishes
to claim them,
even if the man craves

the upward climb.
You scrabble up
the volcano’s teeth,
pointing in the distance

to a tiny box church,
all white against the island’s rock
and ash, the aquamarine
sea. Today, I drive alone

down Pittsburgh’s busiest avenues,
its stone church steeples
thrusting high, walls ringed
with smog and grit.

The gods must be in Thira still,
giving flight to the newest in love,
letting them summit those
black-stoned jaws

without consequence
or history, all lightness, their
mouths wet, still drinking
from the lie.

About the Author

Rachel Mennies is the author of The Glad Hand of God Points Backwards, winner of the 2013 Walt McDonald First-Book Prize in Poetry, and the chapbook No Silence in the Fields. Her poetry has appeared in Black Warrior Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Drunken Boat, the Journal, Crazyhorse, and elsewhere.