Poem | Deaconesses

(Pliny X.96)

Remember the two nameless slave-women,

the two deaconesses Pliny had flogged.

Their ruined skin, the flaking of the shackles,

 

their new blood on the brown crust of earlier ordeals.

How they trembled in the hot, parched chamber,

sobbed and sweated and thirsted and fell, alone.

 

Talk to us, elder sisters.

Open the hollow centuries

and whisper like the rain,

 

Tell us your names,

Come, take this small cup

of clear winter water.

 

Remember us here

alone like you: forgotten

but for the official reports.

Topics: 

Share

About the Author

Rob Sulewski is a playwright who teaches writing at the University of Michigan. His recent work has appeared in the Bear River Review and Blue Unicorn.