The dirt track has been pounded by the sun
             for these four months of drought.
No horse would run here but the horse would run
             in barren laps of thought
as, in my long anger, my thoughts have done,

rounding the curve on old injustices
             down the straightaway of revenge,
raising dust while the music of cicadas
             screams like a rusty hinge,
rises and fades away and again rises

(reminding me of what Socrates said
             about those so thrilled by song
that they forgot to eat and drink, and died
             without even knowing,
and became cicadas): rises like the hard

voices of the couple who have come here
             to play out their last act,
heedless and bickering in the noontime glare
             beside leering herms and cracked
small-bellied terracotta vases, but are

just actors off-book, running lines. Soon they
             are resting beneath the ilex,
drinking cool water, laughing quietly
             at the violence of their text,
and then resume. I cannot find a way

out of the desolation of this oval,
             though, and its dying palms.
I cannot find the myth, the shadowed stable,
             the muses, the bit that calms.
I cannot make myself amiable.