Ostia Antica

Poetry is an empty vessel.
You fill it and it’s still empty.
           Roman proverb

Here the earth absorbs the debt,
Soil removal unearths a deficit,
Deadweight tonnage weighs on the ruins
Accounting for actual total loss
Or assemblages of waves on the Tiber
Or slave labor or any diffusion.
Concerning these open-sided containers
Transactions are void, transhipments nullified,
All transit reduced to terminus
And the archaeology of commerce,
Save for the temples of worship
And the living theatre of the people.