Stelios Marmoris: “The Apron”

I am wearing my mother’s

apron I found on the inside

of the cupboard door

aged to a peppery beige.

The shock of it hanging

on a nail, slump-shouldered,

as if she had just slipped out

in a rush to die as she was

making stewed lamb and

greasy potatoes and crispy

phyllo rudders through me.

She likely left the candles

burning on the perfectly

set table, tines of forks

glinting like the tiny knots

of silver crosses sewn

into the bishop’s robe

that would one day cordon

her rose-sprinkled grave.

Now at her seat at the head

of the table preside shakers

of rice coupled like dolls,

and bowls of rubber grapes.

I tie the belt loop around

my broadening waist, filling

out her form to prepare

the meal she never finished.

I pat down the crumpled

lap of shorn linen, marked

by raised red embroidery

of the word ‘Mom’ in script.

Cheap sentiment, yes,

but I ride a passing longing

feeling the soft edge

of the page she thumbed

as I decipher a recipe for

lemon soup she wrote in

pencil, smudged to a sheen,

marred by a few dry stains.

Ironic how this apron covers

as it cloaked me once before:

the summer of 1957 over

the flow of steaming casseroles

and sisters’ muted screams

to cheers of ballgames

and activists for civil rights

in the blistering TV set

as she carried me inside her

through the battered rooms

whose wounds I grew to love–

as I set this plate of hot rice

to swinging bells of incense,

Kyrie Eleison, three times–

to the clicking timer shut.




Native of Boston and Martha’s Vineyard, MA., Stelios Mormoris is CEO of SCENT BEAUTY, Inc., which markets beauty products worldwide. Citizen of Greece and the U.S., Stelios was born in New York, and lived most of his adult life in Paris. He received a B.A. in Architecture from Princeton University, and an M.B.A. from INSEAD [Institut d’EuropĂ©en d’Administration des Affaires] in Fontainebleau, France. He has been published in Book of Lit Matches, Crab Creek Review, Crosswinds Poetry Journal, Eunoia Review, Fourth River, Gargoyle, Good Life Review, High Shelf Press, Humana Obscura, Midwest Poetry Review, Narrative Magazine, Nassau Literary Review, Press, Spillway, Sugarhouse Review, Tupelo Quarterly, Verse, Whelk Walk Review and other literary journals. Stelios’ debut book of poetry titled “THE OCULUS” is forthcoming from TUPELO PRESS in October 2022. Stelios has held positions on the Boards of the French Library of BOSTON, Historic New England, the Fragrance Foundation, and ACT-UP. Besides reading and writing poetry, Stelios is an avid gardener and sailor, and also a contemporary artist, specializing in abstract oil painting.