Momentary Triumph: Fulvia, Wife of Antony, Toys With Cicero’s Skull
O senex, O wise one!
O greatness descended from so little!
Give us a speech to praise the republic.
How hungry your ears must be
to hear the sound of your voice.
Can they hear instead the flies
buzzing around your sockets?
These flies and we poor Romans must
endure without your empty eloquence.
Some think you now in Elysium,
that ancient and childish dream much like
your defense of the republic--a puerile scheme
for those who crave power without daring.
Three ravens flew west at noon, old friend,
and their cry was loud and insistent.
Whatever the augurs would make of their flight
I think it bodes poorly for thee.
When you bent this head for the sword
did you remember those you’d condemned?
Did you just for that moment believe in hereafter?
But I see no coin in your mouth,
Marcus Tullius,to pay Charon to ferry your soul
just as there is no son to carry your name into history
where Marcus Antonius and I will be enshrined
as gods by a grateful Rome.
James Hannon is a psychotherapist in Massachusetts. His poems have appeared in Cold Mountain Review, Soundings East, Zetetic and other journals, and in Gathered: Contemporary Quaker Poets. His collection, The Year I Learned The Backstroke, was published by Aldrich Press.
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