His cohorts, once and former,
drank wine and smoked cigars,
in robes, bleary eyed, like Romans,
orgified, just in from debauch.
And inside, the Senate sent up a cheer,
a wail of laughter that busted
along the street, where we warmed our hands
under the haunches of dogs
with hardly any breath left in them.
At the door of the chapel, meanwhile,
a whole line of mouths opened
on cue of everlasting life.
At the altar, Caesar wrapped laurels
around the heads of orphans who’d done him favors.
And there was our man, the one who stood for us,
making one last try—after we had given up—
to reinstate the republic, to make us believe
in something other than flesh
and empty prayers and false gods.
Last time we saw him, he was blowing the base
of the fire, sending sparks into Cleopatra’s veils
stars to signal gods the experiment wasn’t over,
the patient’s heart hadn’t stopped—not yet.