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.