Over Ice

Glenn Shaheen

At lunch my mind turns to the volcano

newly erupting in Iceland, ranched iceberg

lettuce turning on my plate. Does Cerberus’

better head peak from the ground? A scorpion

tail of smoke pinches the sky from Scotch

coasts to Norse bungalows. Ask the sphinx

a question and you’ll get a riddle. The sphinx

is useless. Ask the internet and the volcano

is Satan’s broken tooth, end times. Scotch

whiskey and I’m ok, it’s only lunch, iceberg

lettuce and dressing and steak. The scorpion

of myth rides the fox across the river. Cerberus

of myth is an unhappy guard, heated. Our Cerberus

is the three heads of doubt — extinction, a sphinx

whose ribs house our feet — futility, the scorpion

riding us across the molten moat — and this volcano.

Come on, death. Come on, massive horizon iceberg

we see coming for decades. I nibble greens, sip scotch,

enjoy the little flames that burst forth. I’m not a scotch

guy, I prefer bourbon, but in a pinch, who asks Cerberus

for special service, a belly rub, to play dead. Iceberg

Alley runs through Iceland, the hot breath of our sphinx

slewing white islands from the north. The volcano

stops air traffic, Europe is isolated. Once, a scorpion

startled me in a cabin, small, black, dying. The scorpion

was highly toxic, but it barely moved. I scotch

taped it to a notebook to show my lover, a volcano

is always erupting on this globe, in our cerebrum,

a fight about danger. But don’t we drive? The sphinx

asked about life, we crawl and stoop, icebergs

on a sea, but the riddle was tough, the iceberg

does not perceive the ship, as the scorpion

does not perceive the sting. Something stinks

around the diner, a dozen televisions, scotch

on the menu for lunch? The hot breath of Cerberus

a little much, the virgins tossed into the volcano,

and when the sphinx asks the riddle will we scoff?

Will we live on scorpion meat and Cerberus’

bark or will iceberg lettuce get us through our lonely lunch?

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