I remember a dog with matted fur lounging in the shade
of a collapsed arch, staring in a way that animals sometime
stare that makes me wonder if the beliefs of Kantianism are
nothing more than old wives’ tales spun from smoke and cinder.
I remember the faint smell of sulfur mixed with seawater
in the shadow of the volcano that poured out its wrath
by the bowlful, the golden urns of the gods spilling
fire and magma from the very cradle of hell.
I remember the empty bathhouses, the villas with
half-painted frescoes, the expensive red paints made from
crushed beetle shells, the overturned tables and chairs,
the uneven stone streets carved by horse-drawn cart wheels.
I remember the skeletons huddled in boathouses,
unearthed from their ash-spun graves for prying eyes,
for the rapid shutter of camera lenses, for the proof
of their existence, as if to leer at the living and say,
“We are all nothing but carbon and bone.”
i really enjoyed seeing the ruins of pompeii and herculaneum