Marcus Agrippa’s Pantheon
Nothing can prepare you for it.
I’d seen the pictures, the dome and the point,
the perfection of the deep-graven letters.
But, lost on a November day, turning
through streets that look the same,
passing ancient ruins at every turn,
I followed the map towards it. Giving up,
on an open square, tourist-full, I turned.
And saw. Did I gasp? Did I fall? My heart did.
I nearly died, seeing the ancient boast,
Marcus Agrippa, the consul, made me.
His monument is there. The letters are deep,
perfectly cut; the solid dome defies the centuries.
I did not think, then, “you must change your life.”
I gave thanks to everything that had brought me there:
to the gray sky of a November day, to the tax return
that let me cross the Atlantic, to being lost,
to my inability to follow simple directions, to solitude:
to everything that let me stand there, bowled over
by the feather-light touch of two thousand years.