V  P  R

Contemporary Poetry and Poetics





Three figures turn away from the volcano's 
rim and start back down the slope.  The man
walks between his wife and mother, pebbles
of pulverized mountain scattering underfoot.
The older woman wears a hat, multicolored, brimmed,
of loosely woven yarn; the other, like her
husband, goes bareheaded in the morning sun.
They've seen what they've come to see here, and now,
as if blinded by the sight, need each other's
arms to guide them off.  The mother raises hers
and touches two fingers, like a musician on
an instrument's strings, to the far shoulder
of her son.  He reaches for his wife and does the same.
Behind them, an opalescent steam cloud rises from
the crater, a consenting sigh heaved up and carried off.
Ahead, black stones tumble, running down like water
spilled and streaming where it goes, where it will,
the earth yielding to whatever comes, giving itself up.

© by Steven Winn


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