If I Knew Brutus (poetry)

I dreamed of a very short person,
asking me if I knew Brutus.
Yes, I said, yes, yes I knew Brutus.
Et tu Brute, and all that,
chewed forever in the second mouth of Satan.
Yes, yes, I did. Brutus and I were familiar.
The short person, neither man nor woman,
older than young but not old, dark haired,
flailed wilder and screamed, No, no. No.
You do not know Brutus. Not that Brutus.
You do not know.

Now, of course, waking,
I worry about twenty-three stab wounds on the Senate steps.
I worry about most of them finding mark in my spine.
I worry about not being hero enough for my bloody back
to be counted a travesty. I worry about cruel gravity
pulling me into the arms of a son or daughter metaphorical
who I failed to acknowledge in real life,
and trading betrayal for betrayal with my child
by each other’s sticky, dilating eyes.

-M. Ashley

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