“Digging in the Italian village of Valdaro–near the city of Mantua, a setting for the famous Elizabethan tragedy–they uncovered a startling double burial. Dubbed the “Lovers of Valdaro” by the media, the pair were huddled close together, face to face, their arms and legs entwined, seemingly in an eternal embrace.” – ARCHAEOLOGY, 2008

An industrial site, a burial ground.
Two skeletons, distinct yet intertwined.

Here, just south of Verona: evidence,
some say, of another star-crossed romance.

The Lovers of Valdaro, they’re calling them,
a fairy tale for a factory town. More likely:

the man killed in battle; the woman,
an arrow in her side, bound in sacrifice

to accompany his soul to the afterlife.
Who bore the greater burden: the soldier,

who struck the ground with a sudden
groan of pain? Or his plunder misbegotten?

Surely, she must have known before:
The heart that burst like a peach,

the pit lodged between the ribs, the juices
inked on organs, smeared on skin.

Tomorrow the cranes arrive to move
this piece of earth from one age to another,

a glass case somewhere. To keep the two
intact, and keep them together.