{An Umbrella Special Feature}

Eric Norris

is the author of two books available on Lulu.com: Terence, a comic translation of A.E. Housman’s A Shropshire Lad, and Takaaki, an epic love poem written in the style of Alexander Pushkin.

Along with Gavin Geoffrey Dillard, he is co-author of Nocturnal Omissions, an epistolary series of poems exploring love, death, time travel, aging, AIDS, sex, religion, and reincarnation, published by Sibling Rivalry Press.

He is a co-host of the Carmine Street Metrics Reading Series at The Bowery Poetry Club and lives in New York City.

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The People of Pompeii

How vigorous their bodies still appear,
How beautiful. How the volcanic ash
Freezes, softens, then erases fear,
Like snow. They’re running for their lives: their last

Meals still digesting, still flexing muscle,
Still fending off bacteria, as if
This new activity is quite normal—
Pompeian life continues: fountains lift

Sparkling water up toward the sky,
Naughty boys chalk penises on walls,
Slaves hold cosmetic mirrors, dishes dry.
Perhaps a bowl left on a table calls

A hungry fruit fly down, his greedy eyes
Full of figs the air will fossilize.