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This poem is taken from PN Review 232, Volume 43 Number 2, November - December 2016.

Later Emperors Evan Jones
1. PHILIP THE ARAB

When Gordian iii asked to remain emperor,
the army booed and hissed.
So he offered to share his power
and the army clanked their spears.
He consented to the rank of Caesar.
But the army refused him.
Could he act then as prefect?
No. They declined outright.
Finally he pleaded for his life.
Philip the Arab, silent till that moment,
considered letting him live.
He thought of Gordian’s innocence,
the sympathy the innocent engender,
the riots that sympathy sets in motion,
the half-finished, the order
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