Migrant Stories

Our landlord Captain Niko tells us how
his ancestors landed on this island
two centuries ago. 

                                Each migrant chose 
a stone and threw it deep into the fog.
Where it landed each one built a house.

The Greeks in Uruguay, he says, once exchanged
shoes they made from the skin of unborn calves
for feta cheese and olives—Greek essentials—

and told him of a kinsman there who wanted
to return back home. A bride was waiting. 
But bandits stole his money; shamed, he fled 

to the interior. This morning the Captain
is carrying a broken oar up from the sea,
torn life-vests. Looking at us. No stories now.

Don Schofield’s poetry volumes include The Flow of Wonder (forthcoming); In Lands Imagination Favors (2014); Before Kodachrome (2012); The Known: Selected Poems [of Nikos Fokas], 1981 – 2000 (2010) and Kindled Terraces: American Poets in Greece (2004). His awards include the Criticos Prize (UK) and the Allen Ginsberg Award (US). He has also received honors from, among others, the State University of New York and Princeton University, where he was a Stanley J. Seeger Writer-in-Residence. He has lived in Greece for many years.