What we’re talking about here; Book Twenty-Five

Matthew Minicucci

What we’re talking about here

is brief: an end
to these machinations; an age of iron and rust.

Perhaps, more accurately, iron then rust.
The invariable oxygenation. The cause/adverb/effect.

A side note: luminous is something to do with light.
This is only your first clue. The title of Consul and the verb console

are not even distantly related etymologically. Keep in mind
it’s the Latin com plus solari: to comfort.

The m becomes an n because ________.

If you go back far enough,
you’ll find words are chiseled in stone.

If you go back far enough, you’ll find stone.

Roman history is a series of formal dinners. Gaul
seems to be the broken saucer in the dishwasher.

As this is ancient times, remember the dishwasher is an actual person.

Olives are inedible without first soaking
for seven days in poison. This is your second clue.

Eventually, Aurelius found that the problem
with his son Commodus was he never listened.

Also problematic was his desire to bind men to poles and chew their testicles off.

I am the lion, he would say to the crowds,
ignoring their shouts for him to act the part of the hero

Hercules, this great son of Zeus,
clad in lion’s skin during his long labors.

I tire of pretending. I will show you even your skin is costume.

Book Twenty-Five

What if it’s said like this: a man leaves. He takes with him all he can carry. What spoils he has slip through the cracks of a hundred rowed ships. What songs are sung sing only of distant homes. In this story, fires live only in hearths. They light and cook and forget the golden locks that might fuel them. Steel goes unwielded; skin collects as dust. In this story, you live, and each morning brings new words, moments of arcing breath translated, old lovers coiled like glided vowels. Here we forget the long fight, the lost, the ground torn like wind-whipped banners. Here, there are only two men: one a poor horseman, the other a handsome prince. They run for miles each night. They sleep clothed only by a single strap of stars, far from the shield’s story, close enough to forget the armor they bear.

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