Death in the Shadow of Vesuvius

Death in the Shadow of Vesuvius

The licks of flame are water drops
nourishing parched limbs.
Tiny embers rise up giving birth to sparkling stars,
which smell oddly sweet of apples and vanilla.
Smoke stings my eyes and saline kisses wet my cheeks.
I choke on tears mixed with bitter ashes.
The fire whispers, its usual silent song.
I can taste that sorrowful tune.
Would Plato speak to this child of Pompeii?
No. No, he can’t; he is long with death.
The destructive flames cross the field,
and beside me lies my love, in complete dissolution.
“Can I help you?” asks a quiet voice.
Psyche comes to help me in my breathing,
for who better knows such a loss?
I fly to touch the beautiful youth,
the radiant star of infinite love.
The fire is wet on my skin,
because I can not handle such beauty.
Omnia vincit amor, I whisper.
Many more will face the same despite passing time.
The flames laugh at me; they laugh at us all.
They promise much in morning fields,
where stars rise up to be born,
and lovers find ash in place of their soul.

Danielle Shaeffer