Herculaneum

I spent the morning with my head cold and The Narrators. My head colds are like older relatives that come and inhabit my space for a week at a time, delaying and distracting me from my routine, leaving in their wake balled up tissues and half drunk cups of liquid and pill bottles and dried up tea bags… They visit at least four times a year and they are one part hurricane, and one part cause for watching lots of TV.

I cried listening to This American Life. I cried watching the History channel. Not good for an already stuffed sinus cavity. Maybe i just needed a good cry and a visit from Aunt Snot. What is it about being sick that makes me so emotional?

I wrote this on the couch this afternoon.

“Herculaneum”

It’s not that I am ungrateful
for modern conveniences
it’s that they give me pause
Like when I slough dead skin from my feet
with a luxury tool crafted for me
by the same forces that buried
thousands at Pompeii

water
and fire
vapor screaming through a tiny hole
the elements at work
like they have been for years
and then I have tea
I can wrap my hands
around pottery
the simple things, at least,
I imagine
don’t change much
after millennia
heat still soothes
liquid still equilibrates

it’s when I need my teeth to be especially white
or my water especially clean
that I am willing to
forego the caveman simplicities
and engage in a conscious relationship
with the castoffs of industrialization
polishing with fluoride
entertaining children with manufacturing byproducts
stuffing bras with liquid death
taking temperatures with poison

turning the dials on a machine
a Calutron Girl
never knowing how much
I am contributing to the
fabrication of the bomb
simply by being alive

never knowing how much ash
my best living is done in.