“When the Old Pilot Light Gives Out”

 

A CENTO – ((stolen prose fragments from The Control of Nature by John McPhee))

 

The crisis was simple and economic,

decorated with a relief model –

to keep them from plunging through.

Fireworks flew high into their interiors,

molten, growling, and weighed

two-thirds of a mile a piece.

 

As it happened, the edge never being stationary,

one cubic metre of flowing lava, of

prescription beer, and the wind shifted,

houses burst into flame mechanically,

and never took no for an answer.

 

The volcano came loose, extending

like a finger halfway across the harbormouth.

Dad swims up to the glass in a “silent

scream of terror” and felt but a mild quake

when the living room imploded

and removed itself hereafter.

 

 

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