The roses have been abandoned
in the village of Kuta Rakyat,
the ash from the erupting Mount
Sinabung collected in the spaces
between the slips of the creamy
soft-lipped petals. Two hundred
twenty times a week the volcano
straddling the Pacific Ring of Fire
spews its face powders into air,
the pyroclastic flow on all flanks
racing with hurricane-force speed.
Unpicked coffee beans lie in paths
of too-hot lava runs, a dog goes down
in a plumed dome of smoke, and rice
already harvested is emptied again
from wooden bowls. There are rocks
being thrown from heaven. The chili
trees wither and once-bright skins
of oranges bear crusty coats forbidden
to the masked children still showing
up for school lessons. Among gnarled
grey-black stalks, a single hibiscus
flower rises like a cup of red wine.
When lightning strikes, the ringing
of cell phones ends in dead silence.
© 2014 Maureen E. Doallas
Indonesia's Mount Sinabung has been erupting for weeks now, displacing tens of thousands, destroying crops, and threatening native flora and fauna. The stunning photographs of the eruption are the inspiration for this poem.