Couldn’t we just put on a little music and dance?




The locals say

There is nothing to fear

As the ground shakes

And the lava flows

It is her land

She takes back

What she wants

When she wants

But she means us

No harm

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July 16, 1978

1978, mid-July

my brother and I

stood behind our mother

at the door of the Sirloin Stockade.


Mama yelled

and pounded on the door

muttering that they should

still be open, and we were hungry


A woman

appeared and said

they had to close early

for reasons I can’t recall.


Now mama

wasn’t one to back

down when she thought

she was right, but that night she did.


She read

in the paper the

following day about the

six found dead in the freezer.


There could

easily have been

nine instead, but for

mama’s ability to hold her tongue.


I think of that night often…