LatinLatin I found a dead language, rottingin a book older than the treesthat had birthed it. It had joined its lovers—fallen men of an archaeologists' Empire. I asked why only it had a tomb,while others crumbled in desertmass graves nobody answered.The words just smiled at me,a skull's last grin as I lowered the lidto think. The question bled back that nightdripped in my ear like Hamlet's doom. Why, I asked, have I heard nothingof your miscarried siblings: the Carpenter's Aramaic, bearded Old English, even Attic Greek that launched a thousand ships—are they not also dead? The lipless smile replied,spoke with no tongue, Because I once was Rome, the father.