Preserved by ash, perfect as when
it was carved or painted onto walls.
Almost poetry, lines left by lonely
people baked into clay statues.
“Secundus says hello to his Prima, wherever
she is. I ask, my mistress, that you love me.”
“If anyone does not believe in Venus,
they should gaze upon my girlfriend”
Some philosophy: “A small problem
grows large if you ignore it.”
“Lovers, like bees, live a honeyed life”
“Once you are dead, you are nothing.”
But mostly, it’s what you would expect
from anyone today.
“Staphylus was here with Quieta.”
“Marcus loves Spendusa”
“Restituta, take off your tunic,
please, and show us your hairy privates”
“Weep, you girls. My penis has given you up.
Now it penetrates men’s behinds.”
“O walls, you have held up so much
tedious graffiti that I am amazed
that you have not already collapsed in ruin.”
But they haven’t, they haven’t.