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The Sinner's Guide to Malice

by Sameen Shakya

In the face of boredom the purest saints

Burn themselves so that the embers trickling

Off their skin can provide sordid delight.

But with each flake tearing off to alight

Joy can, for an instant, be reconciled

While death draws near. The final permanence.

Here is where the purest of saints exit;

Off to an oblivion bereft of this.

Though there's some who wish to continue it.

Some who've burned themselves yet yearn charred flesh

So turn their flames to the world but often find

Victims in family and friends. Still some decide

To stop here. Get help. Or dive to oblivion.

Few move forth. An inferno in their wake.

I find myself in that terrible company.

I stare at my boiling flesh and think just how

Could I have gone so far? As all around

The flames flicker and rage and rage till all

That remains is a charred hole on the ground.


Sameen Shakya’s poems have been published in Alternate Route, BOMBFIRE, Havik, WINK, and Teach Write, to name a few. Born and raised in Kathmandu, Nepal, he moved to the USA in 2015 to pursue writing. He earned an Undergraduate Degree in Creative Writing from St Cloud State University and traveled the country for a couple of years to gain a more informal education. He returned to Kathmandu in 2022 and is currently based there.


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