Do Not Disturb My Circles

by Angel Uriel Perales

What do I care if the peacocks strut proud
amongst the ruins of Syracuse? The maggots
nestling in the stale bread taste the same
to them as they do to me and if not consumed
then the flies alight on the same tired eyes
annoyed with the same lack of sleep.

Yea, I opened up the gate near the dry fountains.
The nymph can’t save you if she can’t swim
and the dolphins in her hair have long abandoned
the red waters of the gulf to the whitetip’s froth,
a fine saturated human blood broth for the gods.

The master died with his logic stuck in his craw.
The oaf who took the master’s life became enraged
at a casual dismissal. I wish I had witnessed
this last offhanded remark, something about not
disturbing the dust in his lab. The dust in his lab!
I can envision the exhausted legionnaire’s sword
shaking in his hand. Do not disturb the dusty circles
drawn in the master‘s sanctum. I would have given
twenty tetradrachms on the spot to have seen that!

I may yet live another day. My fellow surviving
confederates already label me the traitor and a coward.
I merely traded one insecurity for another. Such is war.
But after the Romans neutralized the man they sought,
I could hear the death knell for the rest of us. They
are merely angry at themselves I beat them to the act.
May slavery apportion them a chaff and chafing life.

What the fools don’t realize is that our repulsion tactics
never actually worked! The claw clanged against the side
of one sambuca and the mythological mirrors never existed!
We scared a stupid captain into rowing a floating siege tower
into the rocks and the rest we sunk with fire from ballistas
and the onagers. We had no secret power deriving from the sun.
When the outer city fell my only rational thought was to run!
I needed no augurs from the birds to know where the wind
had blown. Should I have forgotten Leontini or Casilinum?
Please don’t answer that question, please just don’t.

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