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Saffron Gatherers, a poem by Katherine V. Wills

Saffron Gatherers 


I held this yellow potshard with 

A fresco of saffron gatherers at Santorini: 

Their nubile bodies swaddled in silk wraps, 

Tiny fingertips gold with spicy crocus. 

How could they predict a caldera spilling  

Lava down Atlantis, up to a cerulean Aegean sky? 


No statues smiled the way they smiled 

In Thera before the yellow 

And red and blue blended. 

After that came Internecine years 

Until they were reborn 

In the cusp of California 

Girls smiled in Santa Clara, the Valley. 

Boys walked slowly towards the setting sun.  


Like Santorini, 

Will the smiles of the children burn to ash 

To praise beak-nosed warriors  

Bodies ripped in stone?  

Where are you, you gently smiling saffron gatherers of Santorini? 

Katherine V. Wills is an English professor at Indiana University/Purdue University, Columbus, In.  Her poetry has been published previously in Flying Island and she has worked with Reservoir Dogwood Poets and many south central Indiana writers.