The Effect of Karma in Cyprus by Alexander Lowell

To the end of my days I won’t 
Drink red wine in a Greek restaurant
Especially one where there is bouzouki music,
A waiter has set fire to a plate of cheese
And a full moon is languishing on the veranda 
     You’ve ruined it for me

Until my final wheezing breath I shan’t
Be within hearing distance of 
Any tragic song—by Kalogiannis,
Parios, Dalaras, Mitropanos—
In which it is midnight, too much retsina has been 
Spilled and one is once again friendless
     You’ve ruined it for me

While my eyes still function I cannot
Scan another poem by Seferis, Cavafy, Ritsos
Even in translation, every other line 
Pausing my heart throb, sensing your waiting eyes
(I’ll need a bucket and a mop). Why?  
     You’ve ruined it for me

All because I did my utmost
On levels unaligned, unaware,
To ruin for always what was always best 
     In us.

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