Boys vs. Girls

Here’s the church,
Here’s the steeple.
Open it up,
Where are the people?

The River Thames, 346 kilometers long,
flows West-East from Gloucestershire
to the North Sea.
Water will go anywhere.

The word “Thames” comes from the Celtic “Tamesa”
which means muddy and dark.
It is a tidal river
its water partly fresh, partly salt.

Us vs. hurricane.
The wives of Henry VIII—
Divorced, beheaded, deceased
divorced, beheaded, survived.

Although the North Sea is 68 kilometers away,
one often hears seagulls in London.
You must not think that we’re unhappy.
Anthropologists report
even trepanned skulls show signs of healing.

These are early days.
Pluto was demoted to a dwarf planet.
Girls standing in the middle of the highway,
on the dividing line.
The brain is a mass of blood vessels.
Portals pop up in the oddest places—
forests, stones, pictures of boats.

People who lie, do so about love.
It is not hard to imagine things
the other way around.
When they asked kindergarteners in Geneva
they said Lac Le Man had been dug deliberately after the city was built
by men with spades.

Girls embroidering butterflies
onto the edges of tea towels.
What does a broken heart mean
if we know emotion stems from the brain?

Do astronauts still go to the moon?
It is never enough to find another kingdom—
we must be able to hold it.

Boys chasing girls around the yard
during recess.
Astronauts in space worrying about their bone density
in the absence of gravity.
Cross my heart—
Here.
The people are here.


Fani Papageorgiou is a poet and critic. Her latest book is Not So Ill With You and Me.