Crater

The rim of the void
Circled the vent hole
With aerated rock; light
From where sulphurous gas
Spewed out its toxic breath,
On goat herds and shielings,
Wharves and warehouses.

Ochre red slopes,
Where old sandstones
Melted and mixed
In slumped flows of puthering lava…
Layer on layer on layer,
Pillows and mounds, one on next
Candy floss striations.

Decades on, pilgrims
Step still tentatively;
Rough trails,
Snake above the abyss
Children shriek with
Pyroclastic fear, yet
The crater lies inert;

Erupting only with spurge and agave,
And rocks arranged
By the hardier explorer
Into timeless signs:
“Maria y Manu”
“Hot Stuff”
And a giant, lithic, cock.

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