Diana Arterian
Two Poems

Germanicus’ recovering two of three golden eagle standards   aquilae  

[15-17 CE – Teutoburg Forest | Rome]


They returned to the wood of loss
finding bones jutting from mounds

skulls fixed to trees  horse parts large in mud
and air  charred Roman men on moldering

altars  Germanicus and soldiers spend days
burying the pieces    then deal death  shackle

enemies   until having two golden eagle standards
in hand   Yet the tribesmen mostly blend

with the trees   become the earth even 
slink full defeat   one aquila never found

Emperor Tiberius calls the soldiers home
for parade  Men crowned with braided

bay laurel  gold necklets  Breastplates
hanging from them for their killing

They sing of the events of Germanicus
in his triumphal chariot the robe

purple pulled and its gold threaded
through    His face daubed red  palms

raised  the two gold aquilae eagle wings open
catching the light  Agrippina the Elder and the five

small children beside their lives opening
before them as the wings in the royal

lines loyalty beauty love the power possible
in the children and it is a certain glory to all

who see them Agrippina not yet two beside those
in chains including the chieftain’s wife and toddler boy.




Empress-Mother Livia ill  Agrippina small seeing the movement around the prone woman   power there    a flame fixed   Livia   noticing   points to a plant outside   put an ear to it   see what it tells

[22 CE – Palatine Hill | Rome]


Agrippina so on the ground

beside a bud    ear like pink


a shell opening to it close hearing

nothing a while shallowing breath trying


deafness to other sounds there so

noting the snick-ing open of green


and when hearing the sound sees

Emperor Tiberius at his mother


Livia’s side   With the low rasp

of petals hissing their slow


touching sees the poison pumping

through them     his power her power