Sunday, February 4, 2018

The Tunguska Non-event

by Todd Mercer

When on fire
the present’s paramount.
There may have been
a meteor to blame, a comet
crashed into the far taiga,
or an errant transatlantic
burst of current
from Nikola Tesla’s lab.
It wasn’t on my mind
the moment
I exploded into flames.
I mouthed a shorthand
stripped-down prayer,
uninformed of the square miles
of matchstick evergreens flattened,
croaked it out
without a thought to
creator or crater-maker:
“Water!” I cried
in my native language,
“Water!” again,
as if anyone could hear.
I wasn’t slightly curious.
about the comet,
gas plume, God’s hand,
the stray wireless transmission,
antimatter, whatever the cause.
Combustion
is strictly present tense.

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