Cyprus, 1940

By Carolyn D. Elias

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Clinging to my mother’s arm
I watched the blood orange sky
blot out the twinkling stars.
Out house burned.
Ashes of our tall, proud crops perfumed the air

Rebel soldiers, creeping dogs in the night,
shot my brother.
His crimson blood stained the river.

We were never to drink from it again.

We left that homier shore.
I did not understand
my parents whispering and furtive eyes.

Our new house did not dream of the sea.
I missed the dance of honey on the wind.
I yearned for the sting of salt in my eyes.

I forgot my religion,
I forgot my father’s name.

I kept my hatred
for the rebels who killed my brother.

I sang the song of my mother
tongue to my children.

Sixty years later I returned to my village.
It was not the same.
It was exactly the same…

The crops stood tall and proud.
The sea burned my eyes.
Hatred of the rebel occupiers still flowed
like a poisoned vein under the skin of my land.

The same songs
carried on in new verses.

Carolyn D. Elias

Author’s Note“Cyprus, 1940” is a fictional account of my grandfather’s emigration from Cyprus to America.