Travelers Welcome

Travelers Welcome

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Hawaiian Shirt Inside a Greek Restaurant

by Robert E. Petras

Leaves all shed, we drove
past a lawn with a nativity scene,
next to one with a toy graveyard and ghosts,
on our way to a Greek restaurant.
Inside my tongued jackknifed pronouncing
pastichio and souvlaki, the menu
not so smooth to my tongue
as the flamingoes and palmettos
on my Hawaiian shirt, and I
mispronounced gyro, which is more like Hilo,
which I pronounced like the Hi the owner
greeted with, asking our name.
Petras, he said as if taste-testing fakes,
are you Greek?
No, I reply, I’m Slovak.
It means rock cutter in Greek,
he said. Enjoy.
After we left, we drove back through town,
past pumpkin displays, past glowing Christmas lights,
wearing our name the best we could.

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