poems by Noel Sloboda

"First Caesar"

We were bussed to the theatre from school
in the fall of ’83; I recall nothing
of sacrifices, oratory, auguries,
or dark dreams—only Portia’s sweet thigh.

Hot liquid brown, accented
by a perfect slit of pink scar tissue,
set against the backdrop of a white robe
lifted, to serve as proof of devotion.

An unreal ideal: a wife who could withstand
torture and inflict it on a boy who had
swallowed fire, who waited for the robe
to rise again, before the curtain dropped.