A new poem by Grant Buday

Dead Sea Afternoon

Eager to glitter the dull plush
of royal routine,
Antonia the Younger,
widow of Drusus,
conceived an idea
to ornament the fish
in the courtyard pond
with gold and silver rings
to glint in their fins,
thereby exciting the eye,
bemusing the mind,
and easing the crossing
of Dead Sea afternoons.

She spent a fun hour splashing
in the pond, with the fish
scooting as slippery as squids,
before snagging them between shapely thighs
and piercing their fins with a fork,
fitting the rings just so,
then freeing them to the murk.

On all fours like a deer drinking,
she smiled at the gliding sunken lightning,
recalling a solstice cruise
in the imperial trireme,
sweet drunken Drusus eloquent
and the living phosphorescence
awakened by the oars
smouldering in the night sea
inciting cries of delight among the pissed,
even as a hairy-eared senator
droned that it was merely
a phenomenon of nature,
a ruling not nearly so impressive
as the rumour that it was in fact the gods,
envious and eager to play,
who had come down from the sky
to join a better party