Above smoldering caldera, from the rim of the volcano long gray slopes of cinders still hot and smoking, nothing alive but the fire inside. It’s hard to believe that this barren beginning will in time nourish so much green, so much life. The wildebeests graze on the richest grass on earth nourished by minerals forced out through fire. Our earth has done it again and again and so have we, I guess. Churned and ruined land at Verdun, bones of 600,000 bodies collected, piled in the grim hump of the ossuary, most of the bombs from that battlefield gathered too. Almost one hundred years later, although the ground is still prone to detonate from unexploded ordinance, trees have grown tall. How many times can we do it to each other and the earth? How much ruined land, corpse-littered, can regenerate? We wait for the super volcano, the asteroid, the force that will finish us. Perhaps if sentient life evolves again it will be better, finer, kinder, deserving this magnificent chance.
Elizabeth Raby is the author of 3 full-length poetry collections, This Woman (2012), Ink on Snow (2010), and The Year the Pears Bloomed Twice (2009), all published by Virtual Artists Collective and of four chapbooks. She worked as a poet-in-the-schools and taught poetry at Muhlenberg College.