Justa Grata Honoria Writes to Attila the Hun

“Here is my ring, I will not marry him.

Come and take me away Attila, you strong man

save me from this run-down world

this cesspit of censer incense and lace.

Take me away from middle managers and scheming

mothers. Away from mosaic gold and lapis.

I want to ride your pale horse through the hordes

and smoke.

I want to feel alive when your enemies die

I want to be something more.

Here in Ravenna, we live upon the debris of the past

we build on top of the layers that came before

every church and tenement tower are rubble piles.

The breath of life that God used to wake us from clay

swells and circulates over and over again,

like the old story that every cup of water

contains a drop of Caesar’s piss

so each brick and piece of marble

is a remnant of forever.

How long is forever?

I don’t want to find out.

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