by Stephanie Conn

Today or tomorrow the snow will melt.
                                 Marina Tsvetayeva

All it took
was a light dusting of snow
to transform the concrete slabs
in the yard into the tops of Roman heads,
crowned with laurel leaves.

The senate meet
to discuss the progress made,
the pipes channelling waste out of the city,
the water, siphoned in from some distant valley
lounging, as if in steaming baths, between the hills.

I follow their roads
out into the countryside; green cassias
gather by the stream where the air is thick
with saffron and the keeper, busy with his bees,
sprinkles dust to count the kings.

Cowdung smeared on fennelstems
congeals in the blistering sun, and honey
starts to bubble in the glutted combs.
Is that Virgil standing by the hives,
his breath heavy with the scent of thyme?

The snow is already melting and tomorrow
I will kneel on the cold stone and prepare
to plant pollenrich flowers
in readiness, along
the border wall.