One: The Flavian Amphitheater

This arcing path between high walls, the arched roof beams surmounting pale and patched brick facings broken by rounded entrances to cells and storerooms: All lines reach upward for the unaccustomed sky and sun, the restless crowds clamoring to determine matters of life and death, defeat or fleeting mortal glory. Above as below, hope is not abandoned; it fled with small warning.

Two: The Old City

without a clock we’d be lost

among these many buildings

on this narrow curving street

each morning and afternoon

the shadows are thick

on a rainy day without sun

we could sleep too late

or end the day too early

and just imagine the Sabbath

Three: The Cemetery

This is where my brother’s ashes rest while awaiting the death of the sun, this double-sided afterlife filing cabinet, some eight feet high and a hundred feet long, just one of dozens in this section. From the map, or standing in the parking lot, it all looks enormous, open and welcoming until I stand next to it. Forehead and fingertips resting on his chiseled name, I can hear the walls unroot, come closer to each other. The sky and sun collapse, arrest their fall just above my head as the ground shifts to meet them. Ashes to ashes: There’s only one way out of what embraces.