Burning Monk

by Katie Rob Ambrose


Tightly coiled flower,


petals of fire wrapping

close around your shape.

Clothed conflagration

sitting cross-legged in the street;

the crowd around you


burning flesh, hair.

You sit so still

amid gasps and

you do not breathe a word.

Blossoming Lotus:

golden, glowing.

How still you sit

while the orange banners

grow tall around your head.

The stench of your

protest rises

and the swarm steps back

in disbelief,

tourist cameras clicking,

taking your dignity

into a still form.

Will I remember

when you're a fistful of ashes


with the city's smog?

Will I breathe you

into my lungs

as your face fades


by my own small living


Or will I choke on the vestiges

of you

who walks with the gods?