Ancient Forum

Its broken walls sheared madness,
Pompey’s Curia sinks in traffic’s sea.
Julius is murdered behind the teatro.
Cars circle in vain.

I descend below the terrazzo,
My spirit drawn to move earth
where cats stretch in heat.
Ancient colors graze my lips.

Years before I lay eyes up
on Pantheon’s cold marble,
mist falling in veiled column
to stone below.

Under Campari umbrellas
tourists lounged in the piazza
propped like sentinels at straw tables.
China’s clink mixed with rain.

Pressed to chilly marble my face
felt the beat of armies returning.
On the walls in leaf gold
memory shimmered.

I move a stone and peer into centuries’ darkness.
A bay leaf breaks
where I inhale its essence.
Dust rises beyond dream.

The forum vibrates in traffic’s dance,
I turn to move up from ancient rubble.
Venus glides past Antares.
A cat opens her eye.

Pietro 1998