Late Afternoon, Rome

The New Republic

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BOOKS AND ARTS JULY 2, 2001

Late Afternoon, Rome

Down the street, on the path to the oratory,
the stations of the cross—huge bronze slabs,
their ordinary agonies modernized to poses
on a fashion runway—have been wired shut.
A river of swallows sheers off course again
Around airlocked spurs of warmth or chill.
The sun is out late, panning for gold
in the silt of our ochre upper floors.
Everything is looking up for a change.
Isn't that white capsule on the blue tablecloth
the daily jumbo jet? It's so far beyond
the cross and thorns, beyond the drawstring
of birds, beyond the last light down here.
And there's already a glass of water on the table,
for the pill I was meant to take hours ago. 

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