Igneous or “of fire”

By Rosemary Royston

Magma undulates in the mantle, forming as the Earth’s plates collide.

      A man and woman collide
      in a café.  He pays for the coffee,
      and they share a table as they laugh
      and trade numbers.

Magma is less dense than the rock around it, and it begins to rise.

      As they leave, he rises from his seat
      and holds open the door, placing one hand
      on the small of her back. The skin
      under her thin cotton burns.

When magma erupts onto the surface of the Earth, it is called lava.  

      Months later they lie in bed, amid
      tangled sheets. The surface of their bodies
      hot to the touch. 

Sheets of lava flow over the ground; the lava eventually cools.

     She’s on her side, one hand on his chest,
     one leg on his. Their exposed limbs,
     once wet with sweat, begin to cool.

Cooled lava hardens and turns into basalt, pumice, or scoria.  

      On their 50th he gives her gold.
      She turns the ring on her finger,
      and feels the cool metal grow warm
      against her flesh.
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About Rosemary Royston

Rosemary Royston lives in northeast Georgia. Her work has been published in The Comstock Review, Main Street Rag, Mom Writer’s Literary Magazine, Public Republic, and Dark Sky Magazine. Her chapbook was a finalist in the 2009 Jessie Bryce Niles chapbook contest, and she was the 2004 recipient of first and third place in poetry, Porter Fleming Literary Awards. Rosemary holds an MFA in Writing from Spalding University.


  1. Susan Anderson
    Posted December 2010 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    Your name is so pretty, it doesn’t seem to need a greeting before it. I really like this poem. I’ve been interested in this website, and now I know someone published on it!
    I like the way you precede the human poetry with scientific fact. It enriches the human relational illustration.
    Thanks for sharing,
    Susan Anderson

  2. Bob Grove
    Posted February 2011 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    Hi, Rosemary: I enjoyed your reading of this poem in Hiwassee a few weeks ago, and enjoyed it again here where I can see the metaphors are emphasized in place. Congratulations on your well-deserved acknowledgment.

  3. Posted February 2011 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    Wonderful metaphor, vividly expressed. Reading as a widow, I wonder how the same metaphor might be extended even farther. Perhaps with the notion of the fertility of volcanic soil?

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