All roads lead to Rome
My neighbour’s garden wall is made of stones from the disused Roman road that had
stopped going anywhere for ages; smooth stones walked over by mules and sandaled feet.
No one here used to bother about some old road, now the heritage people
want their stones back, as do the tourist board,
who’s trying too hard attract quality vacationers, away from the coast;
there is more to Portugal than it being Spain’s little sister, aping her big brother.
When the stones have been put back, a story can be spun
about a road that never actually went to Rome, but to a quarry behind the hill,
a hole filled with thorny bushes, snakes and femurs of my neighbour’s ancestors,
worked to death as slaves by men with Romanesque noses.