Ode to Vesuvius
My first memory of a volcano is from a Superman cartoon
that I watched over and over and over
so many times in one afternoon
that my siblings left me curled on the tile
in front of the television, rubbing sun rays out of my eyes
to go outside and play. Their voices echo like
so far away bird songs. The real noise is animated fire.
The story is foggy now, but I remember the burning so clearly.
Superman and Lois Lane are shooting a documentary on a volcano.
They think he is dormant, and they are climbing up mountain walls
—their steps must feel
like feathers turning into boulders.
I was very young, but I already knew the name of Vesuvius,
though this was a titan of fiction.
I have seen the mummies in the ash, and
to me all volcanoes are Vesuvius,
his name Herculean, hearth and smoke,
I know his
his fury seething through a throat of dry earth.
A vent of a voice held so deep inside it has forgotten
how to be gentle,
how to sing like soft, warm earth.
—Not asleep. Not dead. Not dormant—
Titanic. Shudders. Trembles.
My core feels this.
Superman must, of course, save Lois, save the scientists and
—true to chaos—their research is halted.
The cartoon magma spews. Hunger colored orange and red.
This city—every city is Pompeii eaten twice.
Now I wonder why they ever thought the volcano was asleep.
Dormant volcanoes are those that once had voice,
that keep a throat still open toward the heavens,
a fire-tongue parched and quiet with sand.
I feel my own— my burning core— and know
as the air leaves me: tumbled-dry, rough and glowing,
as certain as embers in an engine
that there are still many mouths without a voice,
and I wonder how long until they realize
the roar they hold
can cause a world to waver
Eyes full of sun rays
can cause a quiet so loud the air smolders,
So far away bird songs
the earth ruptures.
Superman can’t stop Vesuvius.
This I remember.
Originally from Albuquerque, NM where she attended the University of New Mexico, Kristian Macaron received her MFA from Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts and thus melded her love for the colorful Southwest with the stunning New England coast. Kristian’s first poetry chapbook, Storm, was released in July 2015 from Swimming With Elephants Publications in Albuquerque, NM. Her other publications of fiction and poetry are published in The Winter Tangerine Review, Philadelphia Stories, Duke City Fix, Lightning Cake Journal, Ginosko Literary Journal, and Medusa’s Laugh Press. She has featured at Chatter Albuquerque, Reading New Mexico (UNM), and the podcasts “Vessels and Voids” and “Pen & Poet”. Kristian is a co-founding editor at the literary journal the Manzano Mountain Review and a writer at Brewers Crew Magazine. She is part-time faculty at the University of New Mexico-Valencia branch campus. Her website is: Kristianmacaron.com