Briana Craig

Eulogy for the Embracing Figures of Pompeii

There is an eternity written between
the heartbeats of a lover’s chest. Here
you crawl into the safety of a ribcage,
like reaching for a light, like kissing your
belly button in the afternoon sunshine. I
have sat for hours at an altar wishing to
taste the dried figs broken from your smile.
I dip my ear down into your ponds and
drown out the sobs around me. Your lips
Melt into Campania wine and settle the ash
in my stomach.

The sobering reality is that this moment
hangs in the air like the Gardens of
Babylon. The scholars will debate the
existence of masculine emotion longer
than the plaster cast of this moment
will travel the Earth. And I wish them
symphonies of silence. I wish them
glass mosaics with no temper. I wish
them fields of untilled lands, brimming
with the overripe fruits of my decaying love.

Who are they to watch apocalypse rain
from an unassociated distance and claim
to know anything of singing from the
overflowing bellies of the volcanoes?

There is no peace in demise or destruction
without the acceptance that we cannot
keep the clouds of ash at bay any more
than we can stop the yearning for the
comfort of another’s embrace. Specifically,
the sweetness of your chest, still warm with
life, still thundering with the secrets kept
between you and I, Versuvius and the sun.

So, here in this quaint peristyle garden,
I recline to my eternal sleep in a protective