Chiminea

1 A girl puked on the tour bus on the switchback up Vesuvius. Her mother looked the other way —out the window. Where else? Wildflowers, hardy and tender, seemed unaware of the perils of flourishing in cinder. We trudged, as through beach sand, and when we got back on, sand had been shoveled onto the mess. I got my contraband: pumice out of the core’s juices—color puce— alarmingly warm from the crater, that supreme indifferent mater. 2 Chimeneas were all the rage. Hemispheric, the copper bowl hung fire, like the globe: a cross-sectioned model. In the dark behind us, what? Panthers, birds of prey. Night inverts the hierarchy. The flames of February purify the pique, the umbrage, the stuffy dreams, the nasal cathedral close with incense. Hence our embers spray and cleanse, our ash an alkaline scrub. Never mind the Pompeiian brain that turned to black glass— a dark crystal

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