Green Hills Literary Lantern

Etymology

 

 

My niece Arianne can speak better Greek

than her younger sister.  When Arianne

was three, she’d ask for milk, pause, then shriek

γάλα.  Not knowing how or why, she’d scan

words to find the ones γιαγιά, grandmother,

would understand.  Wintertime her snowman

needs a hat, καπέλο. φανέλα, a sweater.

Kayla comprehends but will not speak Greek.

She names her wants in English, waiting for

us to crack the code:  open sesame.

My father once asks the difference between

understanding and speaking.  Lake Erie

my mother says, is no Aegean Sea.

He nods, takes her hand, calls her, Αγάπη.

 

Vivian M. Axiotis's poems have also appeared in The English Journal and Ohio Teachers' Write.  She teaches English, speech and drama, and journalism at Boardman High School in northeast Ohio.  She is spending this year writing in Athens, Greece.