Three Poems by Kiki Dimoula


Romantic Disagreement

Of course I am
against disturbing the moon.
For many reasons.
Not only is it an unseemly exaggeration
—personally I’ve long avoided exaggerating
because of exhaustion—
but it is also improper.
So far, the moon’s relations with the earth
have been
highly formal.
Discreet from its enchanting distance,
it offered perfect solutions
to mankind’s musing.
And, above all,
every so often,
it silver-plates
this worn-out earth for free.



Exercises for Weight Loss in No Time at All

Lie down. On something hard.
At first your leisure vertebrae may hurt
but gradually, painlessly, immobility
straightens its back till it stands there like a cypress.

Now compress your bad habits
into one rigid line.
Rest your hands on your chest
like the makeshift wings of a provisional angel.
Do not shift position.
The supine rows best.

Don’t be afraid. Fear makes you fat,
it contains hunger.
Don’t chew on sensations. Too many calories.
They cause the fat of deprivations.

Close your eyes, please
no dubious chinks
no lollipops of light.
They emit ultraviolet nostalgia.

Fully exhale, hold still
don’t breathe, don’t breathe
lest only half the ferryman
appear on the X-ray.

Let yourself slide down sleep.
You just relax, I’ll play
your mother’s lullaby on tape
hush little baby hush
like it or not I say.

Weigh yourself. Please hold still:
nested inside your body a scale awaits.



It rains with absolute candor.
So the sky is not a rumor
it does exist
and therefore earth is not
the sole solution
as each lazy dead person pretends.

Translation from the Greek
By Cecile Inglessis Margellos and Rika Lesser

Copyright © 2012 by Yale University. English translations copyright © 2012 by Cecile Inglessis Margellos and Rika Lesser. “The Somatics of Semantics” © 2012 by Rika Lesser. Reprinted by permission of the publisher.

Kiki Dimoula is a member of the Academy of Athens. She has been awarded the Greek State Prize twice, the Grand State Prize, the Ouranis Prize, and the Aristeion of Letters (given by the Academy of Athens), as well as the European Prize for Literature. Her poetry has been translated into English, French, Danish, German, Italian, Spanish, Swedish, and many other languages.

Cecile Inglessis Margellosis a translator from French, English, and ancient Greek; a scholar; and a literary critic. She divides her time between Geneva and Athens.

Rika Lesser, twice the recipient of translation prizes from the Swedish Academy, is the author of four books of poems and seven books of poetry in translation. She resides in Brooklyn, N.Y.