Dear Phebe and Cyrus,
Behind the theatre is where I usually find them,
where people place their cast off things:
broken sandals, rags, rubbish, and the like.
This one was even further back, close to the high
road. I wouldn't have seen it if a gray pigeon
hadn't rustled about beside the bundle of cloth
making so much noise. PTL.
Some are cast off because something is wrong--
often blindness, disease or a deformity of some kind.
We blame the cause of so many infants born this way
to the wide array of abortificants and poisons
taken by the wives or mistresses of rich governors.
They reject any heir breaking up inherited property.
The phrarmacies in Rome grow increasingly rich
from the sales of these items. Often the ones
we can save are like little Teran here--
from the poorest of the poor.
You are very blessed, for I have promised
the very next child would be yours, "no matter
his health or nature." And you see he is perfect.
You were meant to have this child. We called him
Teran until you were able to give him a proper name.
Many now know we X-tians in Rome are
copying the methods of those in Antioch.
They know we make daily rounds of the dumps
behind the theatres and open markets. The poor
hide the infants they cannot care for from those
looking for free slaves, yet they also try to make them
easy for us to find by a small sign of some kind.
This one was swaddled in clean feed sacks,
and our secret sign was drawn in the dirt nearby.