I wished, but wasn’t, born as Cleopatra,
because the line was long, and so instead
I was a silly sheep put out to pasture
and met a baby born inside a shed
who wished, in turn, that he’d been born as Caesar
and crossed the Rubicon in armor plate,
then swanned along a river at his leisure
beside a buxom lady head of state.
Slaves who plied the oars or did the fanning,
the asp that bit a diva’s heaving breast,
and courtiers whose greatness lay in fawning
lodged afterlife complaints like all the rest.
The wise men, too, had wanted something finer,
but oftentimes the learning curve is steep
as news arrives from Timbuktu to China
that everyone alive has been a sheep.
Ed Shacklee is a public defender who lives on a boat in the Potomac River. His first collection, The Blind Loon: A Bestiary, was published in 2017 by Able Muse Press. His poems can be found in Autumn Sky Poetry Daily, Light, and Rattle, among other places. Here’s a link to the Facebook Group “The Blind Loon: A Bestiary,” if you’re interested: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1809119139415406/