Watching the Fire

by Kathryn Boehnke

I know about the burnings.
The way the smoke fills the lungs
The way fire cooks flesh.
The agony the screaming
The way the executioners prolong it
To make the town just a few more cents.
I know the way no one cares
As long as they get to watch a good show.
I know about wishing it would end
And I know about the desire to hide and lie
So that it doesn’t happen again
And clinging to a hope you are never found
Even as your friends and family scream out
About the secret joy that at least
It is not you up on the pyre
And the guilt of the relief as
The procession passes by.

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