Jennifer Highland

Names of Volcanoes

Some like flowers
the languid burn of color
        Kilauea  Tolima  Haleakala

Some like fireworks
        Krakatau  Tambora  Agung

Some like dinner guests
their manners perfect—their smiles dangerous
        El Chichon  Surtsey  Korovin

Some like music
notes overspilling the brim
        Karisimbi  Kelimetu  Cayambe
              Toba  Ngauruhoe

Some like stout professors
        Vesuvius  St. Helen  Pinatubo

Some like cats
        El Misti  Cotopaxi  Makushin  Mayon
tails curling softly like smoke

Some like the world is breaking
        Etna  Katmai

Some like the world is crying
        Mauna Loa  Kohala  Kohala  Kohala  Iya


All I know of heaven is
there must be thrushes,
their watery song
fluting through the green branches
the same way the light
slants and scatters,
yellow with evening,
between the trees.
There, summer lingers;
the mountain unfolds
in an endless descent
through the layered leaves
rippling with breath,
the weave of dapple and dark,
through the liquid tones
looping and echoing,
each note effortlessly dropped
like a wet, black pebble
spilled in the resonant dusk.

Author Portrait

Jennifer Highland practices osteopathy in central New Hampshire. Her poetry has recently appeared or is forthcoming in Rappahannock Review, Cider Press Review, Heron Tree, and the anthologies Done Darkness, Chronicles of Eve, and Nuclear Impact. She often writes in her head while walking the three miles of back roads to her office--moving the body seems to help her mind to move. She enjoys hiking the White Mountains, working in her vegetable garden, and practicing Tai Chi.