Caesar’s Last Breath
So much is forgotten — so much written
and read and lived and slept upon,
like a mattress of skin mites and tardigrades
collecting on the crystal vents
of a mid-century modern box spring.
The cleaning lady changes my sheets
every other week. She changes the dirt
on the floor, replaces the coffee
with clean water, the clean rags with dirty ones.
It’s a magic trick to arrive and leave
without a trace — the bat that bites you
while you sleep — thirteen shots
in the stomach to stave off rabies.
You never develop symptoms,
but you still foam at the mouth,
spit your day — foster a gag reflex
— wash it down the drain to rend
and stew with the rest of humanity.
A piece of us is there every time we breathe,
the DNA of a long-dead empire,
just enough to crown us kings and queens
to sit upon a world of fragile thrones.
©️ Trapper Markelz, 2022