Before the Volcano
After Matthew Sweeney's 'The Volcano'
A few days after I met you off the ship we walked to a quiet spot in the park and you told me all about your life in Europe. I cannot say for sure how long we sat there but as the sun set I remember watching your hands work in rotation as you described how limestone is formed. I laughed away some tension because you must have said layers a dozen times before you said that those layers were layers of sediment that compressed into stone. Then you cupped your hands into what I saw as a heart but what you saw as stone and you tipped that stone onto its edge and onto its face to represent its three bedding planes for building: natural-bedded, edge-bedded, face-bedded. You had earned enough money to get us off the island and the rest would go towards the stone we would use to build a house. The moment you said that, you clapped your hands together in prayer and promised that it would be the softest, creamiest stone anyone across the water could ever hope to see. You said you would find a way of getting the stone here and build me a house in the way that the way a people called The Normans did, with a round entrance arch with a moulding so full of zig-zags that it would make me dizzy every time I walked beneath it. We then sat in silence for five or maybe ten minutes because we could both tell by the way the drones were whizzing and twitching and spluttering around the peak that the world watched and waited from the comfort of their soft limestone beds.