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After the Roman Cemetery

By V.West

Copyright 2013 V.West

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After the Roman cemetery and

sun and heat and bright

lizard with the forked feet

jeans on the roof will dry

slice of watermelon

my second cigarette

sandals on the shore

floor of silt to the shins

wet turns to dry inside an hour

swollen face with no blood

eyes are black and still open

heat makes him run very fast to the rocks

fright is over the water boils now for tea

before we mounted the steps of the arena

and saw where we had been.



In October of 1993, I stayed at the Baron Hotel in Aleppo, Syria. Aleppo is famous because it is one of the longest continually inhabited cities in the world (from around 6000 BC until present). The Baron Hotel is famous for its former guests: Agatha Christie, Lawrence of Arabia, Charles Lindbergh, and many famous scholars and dignitaries (me not included). That week I was traveling with a group of French and Italian archeologists. Our team included: Albert and Carolyne, from France; Maria and Sonia, from Italy; Armed, our Syrian driver, and me, from America. Daily we spoke a strange pidgin Italian-French-Arabic-English dialect. We had all been working on a dig in western Syria for over a month in a small village on the banks of the Euphrates. We had finally gotten a few days off to do some sightseeing so we headed to Aleppo. There are very few tourists in Syria.

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