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.

Softness proffering

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

Question, reflection

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.


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