he must have been remarkable,
to capture wizened, cynical eyes,
or to earn a woman’s weeping
in a place for forgetting the dead,
which will not in millennia be rid
of the stench of rotten blood
haunting it like the million specters
hidden long ago in its stained halls.
but he, too, will become a ghost,
whose futile grasp at life and glory
ensured that his shell will never return
to the remains of the place of his birth.
he, too, will be a whisper in the throng
of the orphans and widows drifting
with bare feet, bare breasts, cracked lips,
stomachs twisting upon themselves.
in the world above, the crowd cheers
for the lone gladiator still standing.
the denarii pass between greedy hands,
and a purple toga remains unstained.
but here, at the edge of the darkness,
we can mourn a man fearless and dead.
Thei Roy is a queer writer who is currently studying in the University of the Philippines College of Medicine, under their Intarmed program. They are based in Davao City.