At the Ruins

By Jeanine Stevens

   All men are ruined Gods.

 —Emerson

 

Humid today, still

the air smells of sun and dust.

We climb another hill

to what remains of Zeus’ temple.

A sarcophagus yawns open

with yet another Medusa carving.

Always fascinating

what remnants remain

from wars, earthquakes, aging.

Along the road,

locals sell goods and wares.

A young family displays

honey and figs. I give them a coin

for their photo.

Our guide says,

“See that old woman to the left?

Twenty years ago she cheated someone.

Don’t buy from her.”

In tatters, she sells

baby booties knitted in bright

polyester colors

and faded scarves hanging

from an olive tree.

I don’t buy anything,

but give her a coin

because she endures,

and because

she lives

among the Gods.

 

Western Turkey, 2012


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