Approach the Rim of a Volcano

Approach the rim of a volcano
notice its molten ruby cast
the fiery frothing restlessly of roiling spew
walk a little closer to the grate of Hell
and look down past the flimsy iron bars and note
how redder how hotter how angrier and ready to

Well I’ve lost interest in describing it any further
it’s past my bedtime and past my
powers of description or perhaps I just don’t
want to believe in Hell I just want to believe in
grottoes of ivy-clinging rock walls and fountains so
crystalline and plentiful at every turn and in
every vista

Let Hell burn in its own fires
let its roar be muffled in my ears

but authorities better than I warn that it’s near
and won’t be ignored when the body’s spirit is
loosed into its native world
and the pendulum hung from unfathomably high
swings way back this way to show the cool snows and
green valleys of bliss’s endlessness

and then swings way forward to reveal
the atomic migraine the bone-crushing endless cancerous
neuralgia of Hell without letup
and our souls nudged toward the
pendulum’s judicial slice forever into either
one or the other

10/30/2001 (from Where Death Goes)

Categories: Poems