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In the Museum

Sky-lit by modern glass, green-bronze
Marcus Aurelius rides his horse
one arm reaching out to the Roman people
who cheered him, all gone since A.D. 180.

A case nearby holds a brush-topped helmet
that long survived the centurion
leather sandal that defeated the foot
steel sword without the wrath.

This blue glass bowl has no appetite.
Terracotta pitcher without the hand that poured,
silver hair ornament, its tresses long lost
coiled bracelet minus the arm that showed it off.

Aurelius wrote in his Meditations we exist
in temporis aeterni in which all things are connected.
That we come from nature and return to it,
death feared only by those who don’t fully live.

This lyre will not be heard at twilight. Yet
you and I are here, curious, in these numbered halls,
our 24-carat wedding rings resolved
to keep on when we’re not.

First printed in Common Ground Review, 2018.