We stand guard and talk of things divine,
a group of twelve Sicarii, relieving the last
lookouts from their post. Wind drills
up the valley and drives desert grit and dirt
into our skin. The Judaean hills

surround us like a fortress and Eta Carinae
punctures the dark.  A Centurion’s voice
shrills above the babel. Now is the hour.
Soldiers spur up the bedrock and siege
ramp, Sagitarii launch arrows at the tower,

and Legionaries hurl pila as our ranks scatter.
Hordes plague the storehouses, and swarm
the barracks and armoury, but find only
ash and dust. We burnt our chattels to black.
The enemy scales behind our battery

and we make our stand. We look out
over the Dead Sea and brandish
our blades. The dawn is coming
just as it will when we are dead. We clutch
our daggers and drive them deep into our skin.