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

By

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 →