Mt. St. Helens Triptych
The Important Man
In the garden of his famous mountain home,
the importer of all things rare and precious weaves
among exotic plantings, with his drink in hand.
His florid face gone stiff with his favored toxin,
he does not see the piranha pool and falls right in.
Just seconds after the shock of the splashing
cold snaps him wide awake, the first one hits.
The Famous Fish
The calmly rippling silver-mirrored ceiling
of their world erupts in shadows and splashes.
Suddenly, the dully circling school of piranha
see the wounded animal floundering above
and instinct triggers their feeding frenzy.
It is so much larger than their usual food,
the little steaks and chops that daily rain on them.
They dart about the prey biting and swallowing.
Swimming through blood, they pass into ecstasy.
Afterwards, when the skeleton sinks deeper down,
they calm and search out shady spots to rest and digest–
their red eyes gloating on the meal’s remains.
They do not see the small milky cascades that
silently disturb the mirrored ceiling of their pool.
The Rescue Team
The rescuers wait by the pool for the fish to float on up.
The poison is supposed to take about half an hour to work.
They are not about to swim amongst the piranha
too early just to recover a corpse that is so very dead.
As they wait, watching the pool, they hardly notice as
the nearby volcano rumbles ominously
and lightning flickers all across the sky.
Magnapoets June 2006.