a Journal of Poetry and the Arts
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Shadow and Light: The Transitory
As you garden in Sabina, Horace,
you carry water from the fountain
to cool you in the summer heat
not quite as fierce as in the City.
While the afternoon cicada
scrapes the August air,
you fill a small straw basket with arugula,
the sweet dark earth lovely on their roots.
Their peppery fragrance makes you happy
as you anticipate your salad
pungent with garlic
glistening in the green of virgin olive oil
and the purple beads of vinegar.
There will be pale pink beans with leeks
and small loaves of whole-grain bread on the table,
and local wine.
You will eat these with a myrtle wreath
drooping around your brow
outside under the arbor trellised with grape leaves,
their tendrils moving slightly as a quiet breeze
stirs across them.
While you eat,
a young boy will play upon a reed.
Some sheep will bleat on the hillside below Lucretilis.
The afternoon bees will bray on the wrinkled roses
and a friend will laugh.
No, not even you on the Esquiline, Maecenas,
walking beautiful on your marbled floors,
can surpass this moment,