Romulus – Kate Jayroe


fallen following countless gourds

filled from maddening, leaden pipe

the frenetic fiddle, their outro

a perfect civilization, destroyed

a perfect civilization, began

with a boy, Romulus

sent to end what he began

in a different iteration

the she-wolf’s milk, soured

centuries ago


in the final frontier, (in outer space)

women are as subject, if not more so

to fantastical conquest, to becoming

rescued goods writhing in

zero gravity, tight

pin-wheel hair, I love you


I know


we learned, before Romulus ushered in the Fall on earth,

to act on fantasy is to be naughty, a lust-monger

limbs twisted up in hasty sweat for bonds broken

for a self-indulgent psychological issue, we call it


it is not polite


and what of the fantasy who persists in her (inconvenient) humanity?

green-skinned concubine of Eve who cannot leave with the captain,

for she is hideous and this is her weakness her

                                                                                             Achilles heel

forgive me

the skin-tight, neon leather catsuit looks so small from here (on earth)

                                                 Oops, I

when we wait,

arms crossed breath baited fingers crossed scalp scratching

when we wait for our fantasy to fall,

we confront the ugliness that is human

the consequence

is that the fantasy pulls the curtain


Dido threw her body on the pyre and Carthage’s devotion was hers

eternal and good

the blonde pop star who crooned in space, who told her astronaut

                              you shouldn’t have

threw her body on the pyre and our devotion was hers

(shaved her head and wielded the sleek, black umbrella)

eternal and good

the beloved first wife, dead of course

she could die a thousand times and never get off,

insatiable whore of a dead bride

the squares of her afghan maddeningly human

in such a clean, technical space


the woman astronaut drove on land, haggard

in disguise to confront the other woman astronaut

about their mutual rutting of a man astronaut

soiling herself to save time, she donned a wig

and trench coat, sending herself

on one final mission

to kill the fantasy he had promised them both


outer space, as land, has its many iterations of Romulus

a satellite, an asteroid, fictional holdings,

an entire system of stars

Romulus, sent to end what he began

skirting the milky way in no measurable time





Kate Jayroe is a bookseller at Powell’s Books and serves on staff with Sewanee Writers’ Conference. Work by Kate appears in Vol. 1 Brooklyn, NANO Fiction, Juked, Hobart and elsewhere. 

Leave a Reply