We cauterized the image of Nero
fiddling as Rome burned into ourselves.
Once the stench of burning scattered we
embroidered it into our imaginations,
but then forgot about Caligula’s
cacoethes for nectarines.
What a shame—
there was left of orange thread, too.
Caligula indulged in nectarines.
He despised the way his tongue felt
pressed against peach pelt. When fondling breasts
and choosing fruit he would leave
sticky thumbprints. Sticky bruises. Sticky kisses.
Caligula suckled on nectarines—corpulent
and firm—big as the sun setting over Gubbio
when August bleeds into September.
And there was orange thread.
And there is orange thread.