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    on the 5ives


  Here is a vacant film canister
and a mound of tight earth
but no baking powder, beaker of vinegar
needs for concocting a small volcano

Remember the folds of lava
that undulated
down Pele's ribs?
dancers swathed in red

Equatorial sternum
pulse of Kona's waves
but all I have is
one finger of tequila

The mother in number 36
rubs her thighs briskly
no doubt they have been built up
from carrying men
on her back down fire escapes

Think I would like to be
a fire fighter too
she reclines Smoking
I repair to the tent

Closer to the tropic of cancer
we'd be hammocked to large limbs
beneath the perching orchids
of the canopy

Their rotting meat or perfume scents
would dress the wind
depending on which winged creatures
they were trying to attract

The long roots would
trail through the air towards my face
while up through giant worm castings
would come pitcher plants
with their little death wells

But I am stationed
beneath a bunch of widow makers
bats roost at dawn
and in the decomposition
are amaryllis with honey guides
that cave in at the slightest touch

Awaken to a glow
issuing through the canvass
young men on the other
side of me have dripped
fuel across their camp
creating a trail of flames
now their soles start to burn

First I throw salt
then dishwater
dousing it all

The next night at a high crossroads
watching pyrotechnics
from three hamlets
leap and dissolve

when an old flame died
we erected a firework stand
I was flying towards the Gulf
because my brother had also turned
to ashes
I could see showers of sparks
from the airplane

Crossing the sunset on July 4th
like a bridge burned to coals
I wondered how it would feel
to be engulfed

Every dusk the steel heads jump
through lit waters
mythic salmon swam in a well
and fed on nuts that fell in
then a bright spot seeped out
to their scales as a mark of knowledge

The head and tail light tetras
the cherry barbs blink in the fish store
I wonder what kind of
electric bait or schizocarps
they have swallowed
what thrusts them towards the surface

The space around me is too vast
but at nights parallels press closer
there are cinder cones
exfoliating beneath the crust
fire driving through salt


towards the gulf

amy trussell