The 5th Emperor of Rome

By Olivia Tiffin, TIWP Student

A fragile flame flickered as the walls set ablaze.
And he smiled.
A cruel, distasteful, bitter smile.
He loved his city. His empire.
And yet he loved it more when its buildings and walls, smoldering, lit by the red and golden flames.
And as he stood over it, a tune swaying the burning air from his scared fingers on the strings.
Some would call him a monster.
Yet would the gods give mercy.
He only spare a poetic end for all those he killed.
A brittle swing, as he played fiddle while his victims burned on stakes and pyres.
The unkillable empire.
Cripple and seared
Ruins and dead sung the song that played over their deaths.
And as the flames slowed.
So did the 5th emperor fall and let their invisible wings carry them down like Icarus to Pulto’s world.
Let the parcae carry him to Apollo.
Or don’t.
Monsters don’t deserve good endings.

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