He stares blankly over the crevasse

that gapes between us.

This cave seems infinite.

I cannot place from where it was born

or estimate when its mouth formed: 

Danger Condemned.

I am not sure how either of us came here,

to this dark.

But we stand on either side

of the snaking abyss 

and wait. I hope

for something to happen, some miracle.


I brought my own water,

drawn from the spring just outside

the cave mouth, above us.

He did not. He gulps 

from a rotten smelling cup

the rancid oily remnants

of who-knows-what, complaining.

He always shouts about the dark

how its cold and empty

(yet, full of treachery, he says)

and how it tricked him

into moving farther from the light.

I see how he shivers.

I just do not know how to tell him

leaving is not dying.

So, I turn from the ragged rift

and follow my own footsteps back

to the light,

the wind and the greens that breathe.


Sometimes I visit the mouth of that dark,

lean into and peer down its throat,

call down the vortex stair,

listen for his ache.

Carried on the choked gusts,

only silence returns.


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Copyright 2005 Susan M. Botich