Today's poem is by Ben Berman

The Great Molasses Flood
        Here and there struggled a form ...
        Only an upheaval a thrashing about
        in the sticky mass, showed where any life was.

                —The Boston Post, 1919

Over two million gallons of molasses
turned Boston into a modern Pompeii,
drowning men and horses under massive

waves, a surreal disaster prompted
by the thick syrup's rising internal
pressure, which rattled the tank and popped

all of its bolts loose. The initial
reports blamed the distilling company's lack
of oversight—found they had installed

the tank in a hurry, camouflaged leaks
by painting the sides brown and used steel
that was far too thin even by the lax

standards of the day. But even stable
structures that are well designed and built
with integrity are susceptible

to fractures, not because they're too brittle
to withstand the stress from heavy loads,
but from tensions within—the very word, bolt,

meaning both to lock down and
                                                                break loose.

Copyright © 2017 Ben Berman All rights reserved
from Figuring in the Figure
Able Muse Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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