____ Anniversary
by Carol Alexander

He won't logic the steam from a cup,
and she won't order the trout well done.

On the Roman road, arches wear away.
Interstitial pipes of terracotta
snake between limestone bricks.
In those days as now
fish leapt quicksilver from the springs.
Dusty travelers stooped to drink,
their shadows telling time.

Nonius Datus ground his teeth at Saldae,
the tunnel somehow gone awry--
two halves disjunct in montane chagrin.
Despondent laborers spat like cats
or crossed their arms, dreaming of warm beds.

Over and over the mountain
they dug at stony soil, blundering on
by moonlight, by harsh sun.
Rains carved gullies of respite.

Quarries of pale stone have curious lacunae.
Between the graves spring tufts of grass,
but he will not mow them at midsummer;
she will not press them under her heel.

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