I heard you burned a book.
We did; a book of laws to obtain
dollars and dolor went up
in butane. I heard you burned

a book. We did; a book on fine
arts to influence finales
with common greatness! I
heard you burned a chem lab.

We did; and with it its whole
library – burial blankets the pale
sound of time; a fair injustice.
I heard

you burned a book. We did;
a book of language with excessive
niceness and sexes, niches for
metallic lenses romping like

impermanence and orphaned
opinions. I see it in your face:
its clear smoke and cold fire;
infinitely flat. We burned a book

of phys ed – let me tell you –
the kind that worships childhood’s
kindness, kindles long
lives and values cheapness.
A hefty

quiet; I heard. Like Syrian
cherries screaming in the orchards;
cereal for a starving ear. I heard
you burned old newspapers, maps

and charters. Too many yesses;
a shortcoming henpecked lovers
share with lower forms

of choirboys and double-checked
chairmen. How tall is your ash
heap? I’d wager no more than feet.


Jake Sheff is in the US Air Force. Poems of Jake’s are in or forthcoming from Radius, The Ekphrastic Review, Crab Orchard Review, The Cossack Review and elsewhere. Two of his poems have been nominated for the 2018 Best of the Net Anthology. His chapbook is “Looting Versailles” (Alabaster Leaves Publishing).