Days of the Accord
Because it was wet and neither of us felt like working,
we traced concessions on the greasy table and negotiated borders.
I was ready to relinquish epochs. You, to my fury,
quibbled over neighbourhoods. I’m sorry:
streets you bargained over were, for me, terraces
scored with washing, child-flitting alleys
that led to the old port and the sea, an imperial coin
embossed by clouds, vaults and cardos
towers rising above orchards and ravines
into sunshine, prayer
dispensed from their crenellations.
So we fall back onto studied courtesies.
Hectored and lectured between
fallen columns, how could you understand
the double failure of our auguries —
how they were used, and what we thought they portended?
Now that I have conjured you beside me in the lamplight
take off that toga, those spats, these antique graces:
all our mosaics proclaim we advance
by accommodation, for all that ancient bluster.
Lacuna October 2011