Not the turmoil, the togas, the color TVs in the Forum—
he gawked at them with the eyes of a bumpkin,
but he smiled at them too. The tree.
As it stood there on the river bank and, in the spiritual medium
of oncoming autumn’s sharp yet thinning glow,
greened frantically—as if Indian summer
would last forever and next month never come,
when in only an hour the leaves on the ground,
rustling like newsprint, would reach ankle-high.
And farther off, around the parking lots,
that same color again, the everything’s-okay green.
And the frame houses flickering in the light, the road 
   crowded with cars, the university.