The Barbarians Were Never at the Gates

They were always inside them—
often smiling like we liked to do
and many other of our laudatory traits
they seemed to make their own as well.
But they didn’t like a glass of wine
in the evening at home or with friends
anywhere in the busy cities—didn’t like

a colorful shoe slipping off a woman’s foot
( yes, a colorful shoe slipping off a woman’s foot)—
didn’t like the myriad displays of the beautiful.
When they knocked on our doors they knew
we would be eager to open and say “Welcome”
with the table set, the food about to be served
and a vase of flowers we placed just for them.