Behind the lintel of the Lion Gate,
swallows had built their nest. Two Mirage jets,
burning Nato dollars, buzzed the valley.
A sweatstained, overweight American
squatted in the shade of the ashlar ramparts,
fanning himself with a bush hat. “Hey, which
pile of stones is this?” A veteran’s pension
kept him in exile. His mom and dad
had once stood arm-in-arm with that eager,
cropped marine recruit, who was altogether now
someone else. Thanksgiving and each birthday,
he would call collect.