National Poetry Month Day 9: “We Came Because the Romans Came, Joseph” by Dena Rash Guzman


We Come Because the Romans Came, Joseph

You are a scene, an obscene staggering,
your legion balls cold & wanting
a beach or bayou, a hot place

to lay bare their brains.

The wheeze of a lung, your tobacco
mitigates the map I must be.
You explicate the states of me,
declare yourself a global citizen.

I’m the tourist. You live and die a traveler.
We’re in a hotel room, anyway.
We come because Romans came.

I blame Augustine for my lost temples,

my mothers’ heathen wailing, but quietly,
so as not to disrupt your room service.
Pasta. You declare my history spurious,

an impolite guest facing a limited menu.

This again, you sigh, outraged by fact.
I open my mouth but am too American.
Ever the echo of war and hostility leaks,
red as your sauce. You wanted Alfredo.


Dena Rash Guzman is the author of Life Cycle—Poems (Dog On A Chain Press, 2013.) A chapbook of poems in forthcoming from Reprobate/Gobshite Quarterly Books in summer 2015. She lives in Oregon.

Original poetry published by The Rumpus. More from this author →