the museum of americana

a literary review

Drowning in Molasses — Poetry by Ashton Nicole Allen

 
In 1919, the internal pressure
of a Bostonian molasses tank
climbed to such a degree
that the rivets holding back
the 2,300,000 gallons
sprang from their hubs
like slugs out of a shotgun
and expelled the sweet liquid
down the streets at 35 mph
with an initial 25-foot wave.
Twenty-one died that day–
most drowned, lungs filled
with warm, amniotic goo.
The fire department used
salt water hoses to erode
and send it to the harbor
for the Atlantic consume.

There was a body never recovered from the mess.

I imagine the tides chewing it over
like a hard candy for decades,
fossilizing the corpse for a future exhibit
or perhaps, will eventually spit it back
up as a reminder of what happens
when something so sweet
is put under too much pressure.
 
 
~ ~ ~

Ashton Nicole Allen is a recent graduate of Stephen F. Austin State University, earning her M.A. in English with a Creative Writing emphasis. Her poems have been featured in journals such as Psaltery and Lyre, The Blue Route, and Gingerbread House. Currently she lives in the pines of Nacogdoches, Texas where she is free to write, bake, and forge chainmail armor.