Iceland · Howard Faerstein

Believing it would alter madness, we landed atop the Earth’s crust
in a town crossed by the river Varmá, then wandered past
indelible angles of promontories iced in white fingers, tiny cracks
and jagged vents, a trail shaped by spirals and curves,
chaotic clusters and converging lines of buried sea stacks,
rippling, ropy lava layers shrouded by purple lupine, moss-covered
pyroclastic rock, ashes commingled with micro-organisms thriving
in hot springs, an island of smoke,

and understanding that everything breaks excepting night which falls,
we ate bananas in a greenhouse heated by volcanic steam,
fell asleep on a fumarole field fed by fountains of fire, awakening
in the midnight light of a sulfurous mist as if this hell were heaven.


Howard Faerstein’s newest collection, Googootz and Other Poems, (Press 53), came out in 2018. His first book, Dreaming of the Rain in Brooklyn, was published in 2013. His work can be found in numerous journals including Great River Review, Nimrod, CutThroat, Off the Coast, Rattle, upstreet, Mudfish and on-line in Gris-Gris, Peacock Journal, and Connotation. He is Associate Poetry Editor of CutThroat, A Journal of the Arts.