David Eggleton

Drowned Volcano

The plane drones across mattress kapok
to follow the crease-marks of the atlas
over a blue haze where outer islands
rise amongst dolphins, humpback whales.
Islands there, pulsing with breadfruit sap,
unwrap tapa mats from coconut cordage. 
The flukes and tails of those islands thwack,
then shimmer back beneath ocean spray.

Outer islands under trade wind flags sail,
showered in storms of frangipani stars.
Untamed sea horses swim with them through
nights maned in swirls of dark rum;
and garlands of surf decorate them.
Days, lit up with guava fragrance, bud
into banyan roots, flowers of wild banana, 
candlenut trees, sweet mango’s sacrament.

Only now does the smudge of the Great Wall
of China café burning become visible.
Only now do rusty freighters and fleets
begin to leak as if they cannot stop,
and the jelly-green glass wobble with tadpoles
that strain to break into toads the size of trucks.
The sky drains its kava bowl, the sea chucks
up a tsunami of canned Pacificana,

and a jack-in-the-box is surfacing
amid shoals, reefs, sands, as a sign:
a drowned volcano risen on a raft
of birthstones loosened from the globe’s grip.
A scorched cinder cone, it climbs and shines.
It might herald the re-entry of Christ
into the Pacific, or a radioactive atoll,
ringing an alarm for the end of time.

Author’s Note


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