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On Palatine Hill
by Fred Bassett

The rueful quietness
of the mystic ruins
soothes my senses,
drummed numb
by the noise
of jabber-day Rome.
Then the disquietude,
the ebbing twilight.
Darkness will catch me
and push me back
into the milling throngs
of the Eternal City.

Behold! A woman
descending the path,
her scarlet dress
fluid as her raven hair.
I step aside.
She stops, sweet of scent.
I know the smile,
but her dark eyes
turn me up the hill
to ponder the last
ruin of the day.


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