by Simon Anton Niño Diego Baena

As the fire spreads,
the only thing that is left on the pages
are scorched words.

I do this
ritual every summer.

I can picture Stalin sipping wine
to soothe his throat
while Osip Mandelstam scrawled poems
on the prison walls.

Let’s chat about
once the pyre ends.

Just look at how these embers are
spreading out
over the city

like stars.


Simon Anton Niño Diego Baena currently lives in the Philippines with his wife and child. He is the author of two chapbooks, The Magnum Opus Persists in the Evening (Jacar Press) and The Lingering Wound (2River View). His work has appeared in Poetry Daily, The Bitter Oleander, The Midwest Quarterly, Louisiana Literature, Osiris, Gargoyle, South Dakota Review, and elsewhere.

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