In this outpost town where Claudius was god
and empires rose and fell,
a dignity survives in the heritage of masons.
Somehow, the wall still stands.
shaled by centuries of frost—
the angles rake without regard to gravity.
The centurion, Longinus, recovers his composure,
his gravestone broken in Boadicea’s wake.
The statue’s parts present a picture
empire builders covet:
the law on horseback, a stricture
reminiscent of his childhood in Sofia ‘…tall for his age,
speaks directly, considers life a token.’
The least among us builds against the seasons,
plumb lines reckoning adversity, between the rider
and our world these random blooms of stone,
the sworn blood, the pact
we make in steely commerce.