Central Athens

Too full of fret to sleep, I rose
To hear the grey of dawn
And watch the shapes of things compose
Before the day turned on.
A motorcycle one street over
Made the morning shift
(Or furtive homecoming from lover).
The dark began to sift

Like coffee grounds. Then liquid, clear,
As cool as water, bright
As sunlight striking windows, sheer
Music scaled a height
Past fire escapes, so that I heard
A tune that scored itself
Across the paper sky: a bird
Perched on the tree’s top shelf

With grey apartments on each side,
An odeon of sorts
Of concrete boxes, far and wide
Broadcasting his reports
From somewhere else, of beauty, spring,
And Hope-renewing life,
And seasons in their solemn ring.
The song was also strife –

I’d learned somewhere – contention, pride
And territory – here
I am, he bruits, and takes a bride,
And steers his rivals clear.
He doesn’t read the news: not long
From now some August brings
A heat to wither every song.
(Or else, that’s why he sings.)

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