Antioch

there
is everything
phoenix colored here
among the Greek tutors
and they behind roman tunics
backs speak the tongue of their
fathers there is everything glass like
the shore when wave upon wave has pulled
back enough to wetten a mirror along
the line beyond surf. that is yourself
there in the sand hot with the
change in political atmos-
phere which along
with the
lengthening of desert is
all in changed time
and language:
now a
French painter is buying rare
fruit from the oldmarketwoman.
a German is ducking the streets from
shadows of his grandfather and
the un inspectors sit
sidebyside with
cheap
foreign beer wiping the treks
left by sand and virus off that tearline
under their cheekbones. that is you
tailing the French painter.
your tie is a
snakeknot
at the hollow of your throat your
collared shirt tangled at sweat from
the napeofyour neck. your hair is
reddishblonde in the fire of
sun here.
along the sideways Greek is still spoken
by the ghosts trapped in limp heatened birds
and fluid legged stallions immobile selling in paddocks
of rough wood. Go out into the desert return
phoenix flush your cheeks the
Frenchman is
looking
for proof that
ancient loveliness inhabits still
around this island of city your noblesse
fathers never came further south than Austria
but in the Greek speaking sun above
the pyre of never same
desert is as the Romans
imagined when christening each brandnew outpost.

Welcome home.