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“Three thousand ancestors ask how I straddle / the sea, a foot on either shore,” Anastasia Vassos writes. One answer is this lovely book, which begins and ends in Greece, the home of both her ancestors and the mythological and literary figures she references throughout. Woven through the geographical fabric is a loose chronological thread connecting a midwestern childhood, a lasting love relationship, and the aging of parents. “Let me be a book before it’s written,” Vassos writes. Here is the book, written, with its vivid imagery, its attention to sound and form, its “words lined up . . . behind the heart.”  Martha Collins 

Weight 6 oz
Dimensions 6.5 × 6.5 × .25 in

Read excerpts

after the sculpture “Nike Adjusting Her Sandal” at Temple of Athena Nike, Acropolis

It was Plato
who did not say,
but surely reflected: shadows
conscript the sun
to show true Form.

You stop, breathless.
Water folds down the front
of your body, the dim
fabric of a chiton.
You balance on one leg.


after the painting “Sappho” by August Mengin

Your face is a tablecloth waiting to be set.
Your breasts, spoons waiting to be emptied.
Your hair weeps: a cataract.

The waves of the Aegean are arms
with foam tattoos rowing
against the moon’s urgent gravity.

You pull us into the tenebrous abyss
where rocks wear skirts. You said

remember whom you leave shackled by love
and then plunged your eyes
like weighted curtains left in the rain.

Sappho Contemplates Suicide at Lefkada

Here, on the torn cliff.
Look. A boat sails below.

Smell of hyacinth, rush of air.
Even wind envies me, my ruthlessness.

Cup of wine spills over rock. A prayer.
Beloved’s name forms the cave of my mouth.

Waves lay the tunic’s hem at my feet.
In the distance: the Sirens.

About the Author

Anastasia Vassos was born in Cleveland, OH. She earned her BA from Kalamazoo College and her MBA from the School of Management at Simmons College. She is an alumna of the Colrain Manuscript Conference and Breadloaf Writers Conference. A reader for Lily Poetry Review, she speaks three languages, and is a long-distance cyclist. She lives in Boston with her husband.

Copyright © 2021 Anastasia Vassos

Cover design by d’Entremont

ISBN 978-1-949279-35-1

All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review or scholarly journal.

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