Palatine Hill

Once the center of a thriving Roman empire

Palatine Hill still stands silently

majestically

a former home of emperors

conquerors

of the known world

chipped alabaster idols whisper

about ancient days

amid marble columns leaning sidewise

the Circus Maximus gazes

at the palatial structures

with their underground mazes

the birthplace of Romulus

Rome’s legendary founder

near

the Triclinium Domus Flavia’s marble floors

remnants of glory gone in long ago wars

***

Call of the Coded Words

they’re a siren’s call to mystery and intrigue

laced with meanings from a special colleague

coded words that creep into conversations

secrets exchanged between rival nations

words so fraught with hidden meaning

can also contain something demeaning

peeling away layers of deep mistrust

that if decoded could easily combust

turning a questionably civilized society

into a maelstrom of vicious impropriety