• Steve Deutsch

"Fumarole"


“You know,”

Tony said with a smile,

“they’d like

to vent volcanoes.”

“Drill into them

to relieve the pressure—

imagine

gas escaping.

like steam

from a giant’s teakettle.”

We were drinking coffee

at the counter of Abe’s

on Bristol Street.

Two eggs up, bacon,

and a toasted bagel.

Tony had given up

on the bagel.

He was missing

two front teeth

and his face looked like

he had lost an argument

with a Mixmaster.

He was tall and dark

with a laugh as contagious

as measles.

But somewhere,

in the tangled machinery

above his eyes

he had a screw loose,

and out of the blue

he would blow.

Then, for a few

frantic minutes,

Tony was a human

wrecking ball.

Last night,

he had hunkered

out of the way

as his ex parked

her dad’s car,

then he took a baseball bat to it—

sweating and swearing,

he shattered

windshields and lights.

The dad and two friends

caught up with him later,

as he walked home alone.

“They will kill you,”

offered Abe,

“If you keep

that crap up.”

“Sooner or later,”

I thought.

Everyone did.

“But the drilling

is more than likely

to set it off,”

Tony said,

squeezing his napkin

into a quarter inch ball.

“The eruption,

that is” he said,

sweeping his

meaty hands

up over his head

to show

how the volcano,

when tampered with,

would blow.

Steve Deutsch lives in State College, PA. His recent publications have or will appear in Linden Avenue Literary Journal, Panoply, Algebra of Owls, The Blue Nib, Thimble Magazine, The Muddy River Poetry Review, Ghost City Review, Borfski Press, Streetlight Press, Gravel, Literary Heist, Nixes Mate Review, Third Wednesday, Misfit Magazine, Word Fountain, Eclectica Magazine, The Drabble, New Verse News and The Ekphrastic Review. He was nominated for Pushcart Prizes in 2017 and 2018. His chapbook, Perhaps You Can, will be published in 2019 by Kelsay Press.


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