Diocletian

In which we Rome around

A poem written a few years ago about the Baths of Diocletian in Rome, formerly featured on Ma Kennedy’s blog. These sculptures were made to remember children who had passed away.

Dismembered heads seem entirely
Innocuous until the
Object in question is a
Child. Pale lips an eternal moment from speech,
Locks of hair unmoved by chill breeze, and
Eyes never carved to completion.
They loved this face enough to make it marble. While the laughing boy
Is now forgotten, love
Anchors to his every
Nick and fracture.

Hatches unbattened

In which I find someone I had lost

A boy I once knew slouches cock-sure on a ratty red velvet sofa.

A decade dead, but still in those tight jeans, legs crossed, grin in his eyes.

I never grieved for him properly, unable to puzzle out just how long forever feels.

But tonight, I curl under his arm, head to a bony shoulder that no longer exists,

Pressed against a heart that pumped kindness with every beat.

He laughs at the girl who never knew how to unbatten hatches,

Who snarked from behind razor wire fences

That she hoped would cover a permanent state of panic.

A different person sits beside him. 

She’s better at opening heart to heart,

Letting others see her weep without shame,

Allowing feelings to flow even when her mind screams. 

He, who never had the chance to grow older, 

Already knew how to do all those things a decade younger. 

It turns out forever feels longer every day.

And ‘never’ ties a weight to your heart strings,

So they plumb a depth ungrounded.

I’m going to stay here a while longer

Next to a boy I once knew, on a ratty red velvet sofa.