Julius Caesar

Tomorrow are the ides —
is the ides? — a date
that has no meaning for us now
and really didn’t for anyone
except the man who ignored
its warning, the day
of his death staring at him
through a window.
Would it have changed
anything if he’d heeded it?
Some say he might still be
living today, though
it’s uncertain whether he’d
still be dictator of Rome. Others
disagree, arguing he would’ve
dropped of a heart attack
at lunch. History wouldn’t be
so changed, they say, except
we wouldn’t have that quote
about Brutus, and Shakespeare
would’ve written one less play.
Presumably our calendars
would be missing a month, too,
we’d make do with eleven
somehow, never knowing
the blueness of the sky in July,
being stuck with the muggy
mosquito-laden slowness of August.