Advice to a Villain

Advice to a Villain
Mary Soon Lee

Unless the tale is a tragedy,
you are doomed,
but defeat may be years ahead.

Savor each day,
each glass of wine,
each partial triumph,
the press of your lover’s lips,
the thrust of your sword.

Ride across the hills
as the sun sets.
Notice the clouds,
how they glow, that color,
the horse outstretched beneath you,
the air’s rush.

When the end does come,
do not beg forgiveness.

Laugh if you can.
Remember how you stole
all the best lines.

Mary Soon Lee was born and raised in London, but now lives in Pittsburgh. She has won the Elgin Award and the Rhysling Award for her poetry and, in August 2017, had 119 haiku in Science, one for each element of the periodic table. A dozen of her poems may be read at