Marilena Zackheos

Marilena Zackheos


Marilena Zackheos is a Greek-Cypriot poet, scholar, and music maker. She grew up in Moscow, Beijing, Nicosia, Geneva, and New York City. She studied philosophy, creative writing, and English literature in the USA and the UK. She holds a PhD from George Washington University, Washington D.C. She is Director of the Cyprus Center for Intercultural Studies and Assistant Professor of Social Sciences at the University of Nicosia. She has published on postcolonial literary and cultural studies, psychoanalysis and trauma, gender and sexuality. Her music album Oh My was released in March 2017 under the band name Grendel Babies. Her first poetry collection Carmine Lullabies was published by A Bookworm Publication in 2016.




I would not think to touch the sky with two arms.



Once again

the label reads, Drink Me.


She is a rock

Ritalin-kids like to toss

into the sea:


much like sight-lovers

who bear to love a single thing

the same way twice,

I hold her up and say, Maybe next time.


I am the one of the prescription

of perceptible objects

damn horizon

too slim to separate air from water.


Loose lips

sink ships, dearie.

Dipsomaniac lips whisper,

There might not be another,


then what difference does it make

if we do or don’t stop now?







Grandpa was a shoemaker;

a miner;           a farmer;          and an actor.

He was DIY Old World.

He’d carve out wooden platforms for Mom and Νούνα*,

he’d recite Greek poetry

to his guests over lunch and make his own village wine.

He smiled a lot

(even as his pants sank down from his waist).

He watched friends die in the copper mine.


When you let me rest

in the nook of your shoulder, I think you and I could move to the village. We could tend his plots of land.


A grapevine plantation needs pruning,

grafting, harvesting,

my heart, patience and time.

No more rehearsing our lives. We could reverse this.


Years back

if the bee were to ask the flower,

How much does your bastard-love cost?

She’d reply, You know I am your unsatisfied

little girl. For practical purposes only

to indicate her disease that would spill his I’ll fetch out.


Yet we could tend honeybees, re-establish lost colonies now.

You and I could bottle up goodness.


If we met years back, I would have torn you away from Morpheus’s arms


a bar of chocolate, an amusing choreo,

an impossible feat,

a witty joke or a Diet Coke

—if you loved me.


But we will sleep all through the night now—all through the melancholy.






*Godmother in Cypriot Greek








Having ended,

there is a chance

one out of three

will hound you

for yearning

to look back

in pleasure


but being deficit

of measure,

next time

you come,

I’ll be the one

with wine

on my tongue,

frenzy in my chase.







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