The plateau was hot and dusty.
It claimed me as clay for its baking.
I walked to the train station
With feet swollen,
With fingers parched by parchment and paper,
Parched by dry air,
Parched by the past I sought.
I stopped on the bridge to rest,
To watch the water.
The river thirsts.
Glimmers of heat reflected off its surface.
For a moment, I saw a watery mirage of the palaces of Galiana.
The Tagus has never rushed.
It takes centuries,
Slowly submerging legends.
It wastes no energy as it wends to the sea.
The river inscribed its banks into dry meseta,
Meandered past the temples of Romans and Visigoths,
Past the homes of Christians and Moors.
They inscribed their parchments with ink.
Ray Ball has a PhD in History and teaches at the University of Alaska Anchorage. When not in the classroom or the archives of Europe and Latin America, she enjoys hiking, biking, running marathons, and spending time with her spouse Mark and neurotic beagle Bailey. She has published history books and essays with several presses. Her poems have appeared in Alaska Women Speak and Eunoia Review.