More than One Word Could Contain

We watched, mouths fixed in the horror of an O,
only our eyes willing to say what our mouths wouldn’t.

And we waited

knowing in some far off thought bubble lodged
in crowded dark corners of far off recollections
that we should flee this volatile moment for safety.

But we just stood like conditioned soldiers in waiting.

Maybe we wanted to feel rooted in some distorted
sense to the heart of this raging, eruptive force
that was larger than the excuse of life living within
each and every one of us in our relative smallness.
Just maybe we wanted to feel important in the larger
picture that was painted upon each of our imaginations.

So while the earth trembled and the waters raged,
we stood in our unity, waiting for what was coming.

Maybe we’d forgotten how to seek our own shelter
in moments of crisis. Or perhaps we’d grown to enjoy
the pain birthed from disaster in all of its pounding,
bleeding glory as it never quite mastered slicing us
as deep as we cut ourselves in our self-destructive ways.

So as the womb of that mound gurgled and churned,
dislodging its earthy indigestion of dissatisfaction,
we did nothing but stand there, our curiosity growing.

Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad when Vulcan unleashed
his full fury and wrath. How many of us pondered
how the volcanic¹ streams of oozing lava would even
flow over layers and layers of fossilized molten ash?
Or if, when unearthed, it could even penetrate
the crusted foundation of such a hardened humanity?

So as the pits of Hades chewed and spit its spawn
seedling offspring into a numbed, frozen society,
testing the spirits and boundaries of the atmosphere,
we continued to stand as one bleeding, breathing organ.

More than One Word Could Contain

Jenifer DeBellis

Dryden, United States

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