James Norcliffe

The Death of Seneca

Such a gesture of indifference is the shrug -
or rather indifference with a hint of disdain,
and when the earth itself shrugs and picks
pips from its teeth, nothing is different.

All night the tremors came, rattling windows
shaking walls, cleaving stones and rolling
them down hillsides. Fondly we believed that
because we loved this place and these gardens...

Now we are beyond shrugging. Unlike Seneca
who, when the emperor came rattling, ordered
his grieving servants to draw him a warm bath,
bring him sharp blades, bring him pomegranates.

Author’s Note


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