is pouring in a slow sea piled high
cuddling the houses
in a red-black burning embrace.

Its fingers flow through windows and doors
(it never knocks)
to touch the soft lives,
laughably soft – within.

It preserves kitchen scenes,
lovemaking, twists of realisation
in exact negatives of brittle stone; steals
moments we would not want known.

Somewhere the mountain smokes,
unconscious through the blur of ash
of the brutal rivers it has spilled,
blows its black rings to the sky.

* * * *

Lava’s gone by morning,
left us shiny from a too-hot iron
neatly pressed for work

on the trembling streetcar.
Even the smell of singeing has fled
through the windows; soap lingers, now.

Deep beneath the crust
is red splashing mercury
dancing below our graves.