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Mount Vulture

Not quite death from above. Just a shadow thrown down
across the homes below. Not even drowning traffic lights
in dark or fire, the volcano long cooled and hardened over.
Science has taken our superstitions, our tales of ghosts

and lights from God, given us desire to push a broken body
to a century’s door. There is a hint of the outside scene
through the window blinds, but there’s no way to make
out the full image. As a child I tried to master the principles

of illusion. Mainly of depth and shading in art. You draw
a lot of lines together and the brain will see shadow, trying
to place things in order, to fill in the gaps that create
confusion. Two fire trucks collided a couple of blocks away,

and somehow everybody I know was there, they say so.
Is there any better time to be alive than right now, any
better place? Our problems are more advanced, our drama
more sophisticated than the world has ever seen before.

Is that iron on the air? I’ll provide you with a beginning,
and I’ll provide you with an end. A locked safe. Something
may awaken tonight. The ground may shake and our homes
may burn, but our jewelry will be safe for decades more.

This poem appeared in the May 24, 2012 issue of the magazine.