WOMEN WRITERS VISIT THE CAVE OF THE MOUNDS IN WISCONSIN

Fall 2016 / Issue 100

Kelly Cherry

Too dark to see one’s hand before one’s face
Too dark to see any part of oneself

A silence so final we were afraid to speak,
The five of us accustomed to speaking freely,

Accustomed to shaping language into art,
Jolted mute by our corporeal knowledge,

Now and new, of the grave, crypt, catacomb,
The tomb and time and generations gone

As thoroughly as if they never existed,
Of helplessness before the fact of death,

The pit flat black, the surrounding black as dense
As a dead man’s brain.

The guide turned on a light and we were back
In the world but it was no longer the same world.

It was clear now how foolish were our ambitions
And how necessary to our survival.