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Ladies day

Street-market at Ptolemaida, 

Western Macedonia, Greece


Remember the market-place that spring day?

One of those brilliant, bee-heavy mornings – 

hectares of poppies and camomile meadows

dancing away from the road, and in town, 

arcades of market-stands, vivid with merchandise:

lingerie trimmed with red plush and red satin;

luscious aromas of sun-ripened strawberries;

the sharp tang of mint, oregano and thyme;

feta as white as the trousseaus of brides,

contrasting with ruby-dyed carpets and slippers;

syrup-drenched pastries and casks of black olives;

phials of rich oil glinting gold in the light;

fibrils of saffron – costly and fine; 

carmine of rough Macedonian wine.


We fingered embroideries, scoffed

punnets of berries, and wistfully laid the red 

undies aside – mindful of those who might

eye them askance – before boarding the bus

with our flasks of cheap wine.


for Janet L.

Jena Woodhouse is the author/translator/co-compliler of ten book and chapbook publications in various genres, including five poetry titles, most recently The Book of Lost Addresses: A retrospective (Picaro Poets 2020).

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