Down in the sewer, floating along the effluvium
You can get a great view of what the city eats.
The runoff from the tenement towers
Where piss and shit rain down like showers
From upper floors where no pipes go,
And the ashes of the Christians burned by Nero
For the nightlights that show off the city’s sights.
Cloaca Maxima wide open to pour forth into the Tiber
The local philosophers can point to who eats their fiber
From the safety of the marble-bricked shore.
On a clear day from the top of the amphora pile in Ostia
You can see clear to the Palatine, the golden dome
Of the emperor’s palace shining, not in the sun, but with malice.
There’s a small fire near the Circus Maximus, but it shouldn’t grow.
The folks that run this city won’t let it, you know.