Jessica Housand Weaver
Mount St. Helens
A quake bucks
against the flush plates
of my heel, up
to my skull, a jolt
that builds like toxicity, red
in the cheek
hot on the hand
volcanic, throaty sounds
molten words mad enough
to flatten homes
vaporize stone, crush
granite into glass—
disposing a black pane
between us, jagged, as your lip
erupting under my fist.
Along the concrete wall, tagged,
they sit there stooped--old winter
coats smoking with dust, grey
caps hugging hairless crowns,
dribbling and spitting
like rusted faucets.
Hobbling one by one,
the steel-faced golems rise,
a dim procession decorated with holes,
braving handouts of bread,
while bystanders look away,
fiddling with phones in their palms.
A Styrofoam coffee cup trembles
in Tin Man’s hands, reminding
him of youth, riding first class
decked in uniform on R&R,
shots still ringing in his head,
shrapnel scrawled onto a medal
hanging, leaden, against his heart.
Thirteen years since the century revolved
wide-eyed, the fickle lashes of my youth
scorched closed along that fat Southern
highway, beaten into asphalt and pine
where I’m trying to recover the bits.
I found him, still smiling, on a memorial
page, as if we could be face-to-face,
press teenage lips against damp cyber
cheeks, a jpeg weighing down my hard drive
and the dusty laptop searing my thighs.
Once we were tongue-tied under a macadam
road, semis threatening our heads, eruptions
of hail pouring all around, the strangest
surprise in his eyes—
They said the rearview mirror was unbroken
somehow, the shattering suspended
Pixels in my lap.
About the Writer
Jessica is an internationally published author and poet. She is currently working on her MFA in Creative Writing and has served as co-editor of Gravel. Her publication credits include or are upcoming in: Stone Soup Magazine, Poetic Voices Magazine, Conceptions Southwest, The Dark Fiction Spotlight, Mused-The BellaOnline Literary Review, Malpais Review, Fickle Muses, The New Poet, Crack the Spine Literary Magazine, Mocha Memoirs Press, and Red Ochre Lit, among others. Her short stories have won awards. She was also a nominee for the Jack Kent Cooke Graduate Arts Award. You can view her website at