By | 15 February 2023

The process of decay is at the same time a process of crystallisation…

I’m reading about the man under the ash
whose brain was made black glass by Vesuvius.
Not from his hot stinking breath
but the sudden change as he galloped away:
flank greasy and foamed, heat-mane unfurled,
streaming behind him like an insignia.

Am I meant to draw comfort that the man
died instantly while asleep?
That his skin boiled, fat steamed, nerves dissolved
to sound with one final shout?

Did he dream the heat or its lack?
Feel its wet kiss or cool alien untouch?
Maybe he’s still asleep, still falling
with the ash. Maybe he goes through
the ash: peeking, feeling, then begging entry
into the starred rips in the Universe’s cloak
until the whole body, mind, slips
and is falling and fell and fallen all at once.

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