In Nero's House
The next emperor fills in its space with rubble
building over it
the archaeologist adding an extra syllable to the ends of words –
             we do not know-ah, whether Nero lived here-ah
preacher cadence in cometoJesus flight
              cavelike halls and faded frescoes near the ceiling
the everpresent winged Victories

with virtual reality goggles we imagined
a sloping lawn, fountains, a distant smooth lake

dinner wine and little knots of bread
how had we met, a party, instant, I said, yes, he said,
with ups and downs, the others laughing, yes,
ups and downs
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