Comparatively Speaking

by Jake Maynard

When  the  stress    pinches  your  shoulders  like  a  piecrust.  And  when
computers   collude  against  your  shorttime. And  when  the  fog  on  the
windshield won’t wipe away,         and when even the hobos by the bridge
can see the dry-rot inside you–then you can take your money.         Fly to
Spain.  Walk  the  Alhambra  gardens  with  an orange bud in your mouth.
Hear the marble lions purr; watch  their  fountains feeding the Cyprus and
Rose.  You can take the old road to the campo and drink bum-wine  under
an  aqueduct,    pitted like your father’s temples.    And when night blooms
and the bread’s been eaten,      when the dew returns earth’s dust,       you
can walk  the cobbled Roman road,  wine-blushed  in your airport sandals,
a  drunken toe  bloodied from a  chip in  the  stone.  You  can touch  them,
those  stones scoured  slowly back  toward nature’s  shape, still warm and
firm in their tucked places.                            They were set there by slaves.