Category Archives: nonet

A gladiator remembers

They say it’s for the gods, a holy rite
to honor the ancestors, but
they lie.  We sweat, bleed, die, while
they sell sweets in the stands.
We kill each other in
the sand for fools
who don’t know
our true
names.

I had a woman, a child, a home,
in the woods above the singing
stream, with barley in the fields.
We planted in the spring,
reaped the corn in
the fall, and drank
strong beer as
the snow
fell.

The chiefs said the Romans were weak, soft.
They lied, and ran away when the
Romans cut us off, drove us
to the river. Lucky
the drowned, first to greet
Wotan the great.
Luck left me.
Taken.
Slaved.

Far away, both years and stadia.
The heat, the sand, the stench of blood
and shit, these are real to me now.
The crowd’s screams, blood-hungry,
the song of my life.
All I will hear
until I
die here,
lost.

Yet I remember, though it’s like a
child’s dream, foolish, sweet, unreal– I
had a woman, a child, a
home, in the woods above
the singing stream,
with barley
in the
fields.