The Manchester Review
Evan Jones
Two Poems
print view

The Devoted Widow

In an obscure and likely apocryphal aside
in his Secret History, Procopius reminds us
of the death and unstitching of Domitian,
Vespasian’s son, the carved one
for whom murder wasn’t final enough.
His wife Domitia requested the body,
the pieces anyway, resolved to bury it
and carry out a coup against the inhuman court.
When she succeeded in gathering his flesh,
the widow of Domitian, Emperor of Rome,
ordered the whole sculpted in bronze,
the only extant monument,
erected in the street leading
to the Capitol: the visage and the end.