Light dim within this whitewashed
reconstruction, yet his blue eyes twinkle,
his beard shines full snowy, his hair curls
to yellow, he bustles big and cheerful.
Wire-rimmed glasses, of course.
October, ground leaf-muddy, skies gray
and in this out-of-the-way museum,
he warms to the English, warming
mostly to the freckled girl. She nods wisely
at his strongly German strigil, sword, shield.
Now he takes a bowl, two thousand years
old, lets her hold it how the young soldier
once did, his named carved in the bottom:
Matreus. He speaks as if he knew him.
Perhaps he did. The auxiliary troops, he says,
were mostly local men. He mentions
how the earth still shows marks of the wall.
Does she feel this same awe of connection,
gifted down through the years? The tower
closes for winter tomorrow. Our guide
looks surprised at the thought
of a holiday.