A centurion crosses the hill of his fathers,
years swallowed down like wine.

Hair falls loose and curling over his temples,
stained, pitted, from campaign.

On the knoll, over a wind-swept town,
he stops. Watches smoke rise from the valley.

Pillage-poor, his sisters squawk in the streets,
husbands gone down to the ground.

He brought men here for them: It will be all right.
It may never be all right again.

He rides slow over the boyhood slopes,
slower still down to the river of his birth.

All moments led to this moment, this ending of endings—
under his war-clouds, the Lycus burns.

Photo by Simone Pellegrini on Unsplash.

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