The Color of Red Clay
Angela Jane Fountas

Yiota cleans the house. She hears Papou upstairs even though he is buried in the village cemetery. When I am in the village, I visit his grave every day to float a wick in olive oil. I believe Yiota.
On Fridays, Yiayia and I take the bus to Sparta to shop. Gypsy children hold out one hand and tap it with the other. The gypsy women smile gold teeth. When we return home, Yiayia fries sliced zucchini and potato in olive oil ladled from a fifty-gallon drum, then scrambles the vegetables with feta, kefalotiri, and eggs.
When my parents call, I have to yell into the phone to tell them I am fine. When I watch television with Yiayia, the chandelier shakes and the room trembles. She says something in Greek. I think, earthquake. I kiss her, "Kalyinichta," and go upstairs to bed. It's safe up here.
This summer Papou's bones will be exhumed. The men will dig, and when the sheet is pulled aside, there will be a skull -- the color of red clay -- poking from a suit. This will be taken up first, then shoulders, arms, hands, ribs. The pelvis, thighs, shins. Each foot gently shaken from its sock. And the women will wash them all. When the gold tooth is pulled from his skull, I will hold out my hand.