Most of the houses have been
dug out from the ash, but the shape
of the mountain will never
be the same in this lifetime: a jagged mouth
where the peak blew off. The optical illusion
is that the mountains never get closer or farther
until suddenly they rise up, icy giants,
beside our passenger window. Fingers
of glacier reach between the peaks.
Beneath the dirty snow, the ice is warped
but clear turquoise glass. A magnet pulls
through me: Hidden inside are both insects long
extinct and still around, sometimes even
small mammals are discovered—pristine, from
another Earth, alien, foreign to what
is going on out here, in this fast-motion world
where we drink viscous black liquor and
lichen schnapps and have sex while missing
the northern lights that are dimmer than
we expected, less colorful, more drab,
a glow in the dark night, only plasma
spray after all, and really the glacier is
a time capsule but maybe not magic, maybe
what is magic is this: a short-lived mammal
and her existential crisis speeding by
the slow moving ice, wishing to be inside
the behemoth, holding on to this moment
too as if it were frozen, willing the sheer pain
of awe to dull to a cold, dormant ache.

Emily Hockaday is a poet and editor living in Queens. Her first full-length collection is forthcoming from Cornerstone Press in 2022, and she is the author of four chapbooks. You can find her on the web at and @E_Hockaday. “Since Eyjafjallajökul Erupted” first appeared in Stoneboat Literary Journal