Small theater in Ephesus, Turkey
The Great Theatre in Ephesus
by Joan Leotta

We stood together,
my daughter, Jennie, and I
leaning one upon the other,
heads touching,
conspirators in travel hijinks,
impatient as our friend
fiddled with the camera.
Before we left home, we’d
found a photo of my mother
with my forty-year-younger self
in this same place.
Afterward, looking at the
pictures, I noticed,
our heads were touching,
lovingly mine and my Mom’s
mine and Jennie’s
connecting then to now.
We had replicated
more than just the pose—
we had joined my mother,
(departed in Jennie’s childhood)
to a moment with us—
three women who loved travel:
grandmother, mother, daughter,
impatient with the photographer,
but forever grateful to have
these paper mementos
to remind how we three
are pressed together always
into each other’s hearts.

PHOTO: The Great Theatre in Ephesus by Bloodua, used by permission.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Great Theatre was built in Ephesus, Greece, during the third century BC, with a seating capacity of 25,000. Ephesus was once considered the most important Greek city and the most important trading center in the Mediterranean region. Throughout history, Ephesus survived multiple attacks and changed hands many times between conquerors. The city’s well-preserved ruins are located in modern-day Turkey.  (Source: history.com)

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: It was hard for me to pick a specific landmark—for 30 years I lived in a city full of landmarks, Washington, DC, where many landmarks have personal significance for our family. In the end, after taking a look at a few of our family albums, it came down to choosing between the trip that introduced my husband and daughter to my favorite place in Spain (where I studied my senior year of university) or the trip to Ephesus where my daughter Jennie and I recreated as best we could, a moment I had shared with my mom, Jennie’s grandma, 40 years earlier. My dear mom passed twenty years ago, so stepping once again into the Great Theatre at Ephesus gave us a connection to her as we tried to recreate the photo taken so long ago.

joan-leotta-seaglass-necklace

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Joan Leotta is a writer and story performer. Her poems have appeared in Silver Birch, When Women Write, Verse Visual, Verse Virtual, The Ekphrastic Review, Yassou, Stanzaic Stylings, read at the Ashmolean, and have won an award at the Wilda Morris Challenge. Her first chapbook, Languid Lusciousness with Lemon, is available from Finishing Line Press. Her essays, articles, and stories are also widely published. On stage, she presents folk and personal tales of food, family, and strong women. She loves to walk the beach, cook, and browse through her many travel photos. Visit her at joanleotta.wordpress.com and on Facebook.