But it’s remarkable! So the man tells a story to preserve himself against steadfast ruin: his hike to the site under noon’s relentless pressure, a xenophobic bus driver having dropped them like turds, his luggage-carrier wheels jarring, slipping on the unmeasured mile of loose gravel, his exhausted humble sigh at the sudden sight of festive blue— umbrellas! Tomatoes Olives Feta. How good to eat, how good to rest . . . then one of the lesser seraphim, a crabbed servant bent over with complaint, leading up and up limetone ledge steps to the uppermost shelter, almost cool inside.
How good to lie down inhaling air pure as the mountain. To join near nightfall the audience before they were an audience, drinking, eating pizza, passing words around, as if on a platter. [End Page 151] To enter another theater just as the ebullient director with flaring white hair, pantaloons, arrives beside his ballerina-like wife, his precocious daughter. To watch, on this stage of sand, wearing a mask with rouge-dot cheeks, silly bulbous breasts, her cause serious, its cause obscene—Lysistrata.
Afterward, unready for sleep he stepped outside his stone bedroom to look up. Crazed bats tore through a floodlight but beyond, above: Plato’s stars his stars!—so large, so close it was as if nothing had happened.
Phyllis Stowell is the author of Arc of Grief and Shield/Bouclier. She is the coeditor of Appetite: Food and Metaphor and An Anthology of Women Poets (BOA Editions).