July 30, 2012 Coldfront
This Morning Feature

Ancient Roman Bones Reveal Malaria: A Love Song

How like a hive, his body — so busy with rigor,
with languor & sweats: his spleen my arena,
his spine my near vicus, encampment. Ague
as opiate: I have bequeathed him thick visions
of wings, my crepuscule sulks, a fever & tremor,
a ribcage too meager to scaffold a temple
or cistern of piss. Citizens, I’ll never leave him —
not while forests are cleared by your hunger
for villas, for mainmasts, flagpoles & bonfires.
We’ll wax as we dwindle, gut-swollen and rank.
What will be left for the Gauls? A cattail garden.
Shards & a damp palm’s mark on the parchment.

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