You can get used to constant burning;
Hell is not fire and it never was.
Think of the Fever Girl, our Typhoid Mary.
She's painted her lips black.
She's left her husband.
She's used to the endless blistering:
from inside first, then out.
We speak of her often. This isn't Hell.
We do not speak of the drowning boys,
the men with their flailing limbs
and skin-turned-blue and o-mouths cracked.
We told them God would send a raft.
This is real Hell:
devoid of fire and its conversations,
crackling. Aloneness. Utter Silence.
Floods that are, unlike a flame, unhungry
and indifferent, coming
in the form of pressure,
coming in the form of water.
We do not speak of the drowning boys.
We do not speak of the girls
who dive beneath to save them.