Love Letter from Pompeii

Kemi Alabi

Seventeen years since our ground

                                                      last split open and shook — remember

  how that quake made us dance

                                                     without moving our feet? Our song

    is a crumbling world, all the bedrooms

                                                                     unwalled and on fire — thank

      Vesuvius. They say it’s why our temples keep

                                                                               tipping. Say

the neck spills a death heat. Before the black,

                                                                           red, red

                                                                                  everything. Would you

      call this violence or

                                                        weather? I don’t trust your hands, but I

   believe your bite is guiltless as

                                                     the rain. Would you call this love or

  the death heat? If we must melt, can it be

                                                                            from the inside out? Can they

           find our bones

                                    vined? My salt scorched into

                                                                                    your teeth? Quick.

While we’re still

                 soft. Still thick grips and whole

                                                                     mouthfuls. Make my voice

     a gash in the neck. I want to melt

                                                while it still feels good

                                                                                    to scream.


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