PALIMPSEST

PALIMPSEST
And on the pedestal these words appear:
‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!’
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
Ozymandias, Percy Bysshe Shelley

Autumn does its do-se-do
back-to-back with Indian Summer
polite like—almost genteel

til in these catastrophic times
winter sidles in behind them
rounded at the edges

maybe mild maybe not
but even as the seasons change
so goes the endless dance
until it too winds down
§
Inhabited 50 millenia
Theopetra Cave, Thessaly, Greece
holds the earliest human structure—
built 21,000 BCE
the first wall

The ancient village of Çatalhöyük
Konya, Turkey, begun c. 7500 BCE
dubbed the ‘honeycomb city’ for its maze
of private dwellings, archaeologists have
peeled back 18 different layers of buildings
each denoting a different era

What persuaded the Dawood Bohra
of Sadhpur, Gujarat, India to abandon
their fine mansions and move on
leaving a ghost city of stone
Erasure
So stone on stone or toppled stone
brick on brick on crumbled stone
floor over floor over floor
scrape away the paint
and paint anew
Rewrite
Writing again the next history
Ilium to Rome to Paris to New York City
grand palaces built over catacombs
as Life continues

to rewrite the past

in endless palimpsest

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