Darkness is only a small part of the problem.
Your vision works fine—you’ve tested it
in daylight. But now
you are underground on dusty earth
that was once underwater
like the seafloor. And as in the desert
that was once a seafloor
there will be remnants
for the observant. A smell, say,
where water-soaked walls
dried gradually and without light; chalky ridges
marking levels, a testimony
to the vanished. Things happen slowly here.
Buckets may have splashed down
suddenly, but first the well cover
was pulled away with a deep
thunderous scraping, notifying.
There are no skeletons disintegrating
underfoot. There is only you, breathing
tentatively, continually testing,
one eye on the weather,
a half moon window’s worth of starlight
flashing a memory of brightness
into your dilated pupils.
Here, sleep is a state
you might enter without knowing
and waking a kind of furor
your heart pays for with interminable
drumming. But the walls become pastures,
wide and long and greening up
with an exuberant stubble
and now you are passing through
on foot without obstruction
and here and there are cairns,
though who left them and what they are for
is not known, but you’ll search
for your own stone, one smoothed and glossy,
to add to a pile, to show you were once here.
Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 15, Issue 3.
See all items about Rebecca Aronson