Tacitus loved little vignettes

of men of high office

shrugging at death like a detail

to be handled expeditiously.

Typically, a house slave

would announce an armored soldier

delicately bearing a letter

saying Kill Yourself.

Often The Condemned would write a brief note,

praising his Emperor, expressing gratitude

for being allowed, in some small way,

to participate in the Glory That Was Rome.

Then he would die.

The Centurion would make it home for dinner.

Again and again, great men of the Principate

walked out of life like walking out of a room.

Tacitus never tires of it.

Each time, he savors the little silence

that was Rome, the end

without conclusion.