By | 1 November 2012

your email was well-timed
and equally well-received

I see you have removed
your father’s bust from your masthead
his victories over the Suevi

is this to assuage his critics
who always seem so close
a mere fingertip away

or the whims of a distant Emperor?

I detect a certain reticence
in your typeface
I miss the sanguine purple

but confess to having winced at the presumption

your aunt informs me
the chatlines are milling with rumours
of Julia Livilla and a certain procurator

the forums were once
a great comfort to your aunt
exiled to these provinces

but now she comes to me
with a face full of anguish
and a pledge to consign her notebook to the grotto

ten sesterces a day I give
to one of the slave boys
to bury her router in the potash

and each night I ache with pity
at her abject sighs
over the mulish songs of the Berbers

conjure the gateway to her happiness from my sleeve

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