Fragments of a Letter, Found
Among the Ruins
While out on expedition, searching for
Materials for my new book, I came upon these
Fragments in an alcove of a crumbling room tucked
Into the craggy corner of an ancient city, long since
Diminished by time. The text you now see I went
To great pains to re-create. It was faint, blotched, and
Scrawled on the back of a moldy piece of animal
Hide. While by no means an expert, I translated
The foreign tongue myself.
Alexander, I look back to that day
When I took an arrow, shot
On foreign lands, out beyond those hazy lines
Of our Empire.
Elephants and wild men –
The humming of jungles –
The stomp stomp of barbarians
And beasts – memories, Alexander,
Wet like the Earth wet,
When hit by roaring rains.
… With screams on Godless nights, razing
People, and towns: Tyre.
The knot at Gordium. Persepolis…
Pounding and pounding the rock steps in
That dry, deserted desert land.
[The next 5 lines are undecipherable]
Wine and fire,
Giggles in royal rooms,
The sweet hiss of flame.
Alexander, I dealt with death
Alone, sought out solace
Along dank river banks I could not
Pronounce the names of… [these words lost]
White, barren peaks,
Bored Prometheus rattling his chains
On mountains where no clear path
Breaks through. Alexander, your dreams…
Like violent fits in the night. Us biting
Chunks of wood to ease the pain
Of worlds more beautiful than fires struck
On white Egyptian sands, a journey just begun.
Maps without borders. Empires
Of dust and ice. Sweat
Blooming on brows.
Alexander, I once whispered stories
To fires that light the night.
[The rest of this fragment worn away]
Published as part of the Poets United Poetry Pantry