& there were howls

August 25, 2015 § Leave a comment

sandwiched between

hypothetically loaded

lectures on pyramid construction 

and a chapter, perhaps,

concerning the greed and

paranoia of Domitian

there is taught 

the temper of Vesuvius
although a brief reference to

Herculaneum may be made

none of us here in Stabiae

will get

even a breath of a mention
sure, the other towns,

a few miles away,

have for the world

their couples

in eternal embrace,

their loyal hounds forever

guarding decimated doorways

and servants

ceaselessly

hauling crockery
here

there is just an old guy

at the end of the bar

frozen in mid lament –

what once was

a lead goblet

and a smattering 

of coins in front of him
a few children dotting the alleyways, their arms

locked in extension for alms

and other’s

       more or less

       statuesque

       in their demise
but dogs?

we have no dogs, no
our dogs were smarter

than their dogs

smarter than we
enough so

to get out before

the lid blew clean off
& there were howls

other than their own
first ignored

then extinguished
(c) 2015 Fred Whitehead

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