Soccer Fields Near Padua
~Anne Harding Woodworth

["Did you know . . . . . there's as much water in the world today as there was thousands of years ago. Actually, it's the same water. The water from your faucet could contain molecules that dinosaurs drank. Perhaps Columbus sailed across it."-Message on the Carolina Water Services bill, June 1997.]

Near Padua
the oval fields stretch wetly green and mown;
and at the museum, a Greek
heads the ball
on a terra cotta plate,
and Romans, it is written,
played the game to prepare for battle.
Athlete statues glide in grace, out of, into
other fluid days.
Near Padua, mud of ages
slides in streams and rivers,
chalk-mud, sweet fern-and-fossil mud,
bark-and-spore mud; mud of mystery cures
to soothe the joints of ancient ones and me.
Wrapped in mud
I'm damp with one of them right now,
centurion, I think, whose bones rest somewhere
in this hot and creamy salve.
Will I come out pregnant and beloved,
come out knowing, being, something new?

Near Padua
mud's made whole and warm again
by rains and thermal streams,
by Isabella's oceans
and Kalamata sun that
heals and dries the fields
near Padua and keeps the quicklime
crisp.

© 1998 Anne Harding Woodworth, all rights reserved.  
Contact publisher for re-print possibility
Originally published in Potomac Review, Spring, 1998

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