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The volcano does discriminate between day and night.
Remnants of dreams flutter away as darkness surrounds you.
It could strike then, or wait till the sun’s false pretense of
morning sanctuary arises, the warmth of the bedcovers, the soft
humming of your mother across the hall, the smell of coffee brewing.
When it explodes, all semblances of safety are stripped away.
The shield you’ve constructed, the armor you’ve fashioned,
both quiver and collapse at the smoke’s mighty blow.
You gasp for air, but its ash-swathed gusts convolute your breath
and scorch your lungs. You could cry for help, but your mind reels
and screams, no one can help you! You’re all alone!
You don’t want to believe it, but in all its essence it is you,
and you cannot defy yourself. You listen for the sounds
of nature in the hope that something out there is existing through this,
but the birds and the bees and the trees have been silenced
by the roars of lightning and fire at the volcano’s heart.
And you strain to recall the last words
you spoke to your sister before this cataclysm befell you—
Quit b*tching Julia, give me the damn phone.
A tear wobbles on the brink of your eyelid and you pray
for it to vanish in the heat, evaporate, fly up above your head
and into the flames, but it hovers before your face like a crystal ball.
Inside you see your sister, walking away, and your parents mouthing
words you don’t understand, and your brother laughing
but about what you can’t remember.
The flames billow higher, darkening the day.
You struggle to breathe. The ground beneath your feet
rumbles and cracks, needle-thin splinters of Earth sprawling
out, a spiderweb of broken pieces that reflect your own heart.
You grapple to find solid ground, but fail. The floor gives way and
you fall. You fall. You always fall.
But the falling doesn’t last forever. You land.
The volcano’s rage dwindles, becomes docile. It ends.
It always ends.