I’ve lived my life in rigid terror
Rabbit frozen in a shadow’s passage
Crouched down in self-protection
A fetal curl in the eye of a tornado
Ducking debris of blasted hearts, F3, F4
Safe only in paralysis
In stillness born of fear.
In this latest summer of storms
The ill-made struts and beams came down
My world imploded.
Trapped in a rockfall, a collapse
Pinned, wounded, bleeding out
Salvation crippled by disuse
Weakened fiber twitching, fading, still.
Death sniffs me out
Puts his feet up and spreads his arms
Any port in a storm, he says.
Winks, motions, and opens a door.
I call to him, hoping someone else hears
Before I take his hand.
An answer comes
Hallucination, desperation, a mystery.
I listen in the dark to the calm and gentle voice.
Peace, she says. Be still.
Tell me what you know.
I go quiet, observant
Tracing contours of my prison with fingertips and inner eye
I report to her what I feel and see in the darkness.
She, with instinct and knowledge of rockcraft and crevice, suggests movement, direction.
I follow, gain foothold and easement
A slow and holy call and response
Each relying on the other for guidance.
Sometimes the rock trembles, a misstep, a shifting
A warning of dustfall and shards
But I breathe through the fear, and do not panic, reach for her again
And again, she calms, we bend, and renew our slow ascent.
Somewhere in the passage she pauses, and cautions me:
She will not be able to bring me to surface.
I lose the feel of her for a moment, as keening clouds all senses.
But surrender is not an option
And I don’t believe she would allow it anyway
So I listen deeper, waste no word or motion
Time imposing greater purpose
As we near the turning point.
I don’t know what lies ahead
Narrow passages and danger
Fresh air, stifling darkness
Monsters and restful slumber.
But for now, in the space between each new step
I am suspended in our warmth
My living tomb become a womb
My stillness now of listening, listening.