Friday, August 31, 2012

Miller's Chapel

"Generally, the age of a cave can't be determined directly because the cave itself is an empty space."
-Oregon Caves tour guide

We populate our blindness
with nervous laughter, shuffle
our feet on unseen ground.

Somewhere a bat discerns
our shapes by listening.
You clutch my hand, moored

to the safe harbor of palms
and fingers as we are asked
to hold a collective breath.

Listen: dark like this presses
on your open eyes, your chest
sings out to it. Your body

contains this absence––all
bodies contain some light-
less core. Beyond the blood

that pulses in our ears: water
drops on stone like pecked
cheeks, wind from the lungs

of cathedrals built by paring
away. The sweat on our palms
could fill a crevice, carve a river,

raise a pillar someplace else
if given time. Bless the empty
spaces we could make––

I let go, and wave goodbye
knowing you cannot see
my hand. Later, driving home,

we hold our breath against
the walls of freeway tunnels
to keep the mountains aloft.

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