Vesuvius Sleeping


the pillow is a grill
and the band
down the street
sings to the ocean,
fishing boats
bobbing along

her voice powering through
boxing gloves on

we turn over
and it gets hotter in the hotel
varnish on the shutters
and flies batting
their drowsy heads
against the glass

tomorrow we will need
to be awake
properly for Pompeii

to see the dogs
the deep wagon-ruts
the stone brothel
and somehow
come to realise just how brutal
a volcano can be

but her voice echoes on
and our air-conditioner
has been missing

since check in
and my head is Crying
the Lot of 49
a half-finished
copy sits beside
the semi-functional phone

and you aren’t sleeping either
but neither of us
can bear to admit it

and so instead of talking
we lie there
and wait
for the mountains
to swallow up the last
of the music

scrape its bowl clean
with thunder
and hints of rain.

(first published in between giants)