You were the black wall of our cave,
Hard and icy, but still,
Shelter. I needed to get down
And snake to you, quiet like
The other snakes and creep up
Next to the spiders
With barbed legs and crooked mouths.
I slipped between the bones,
Tried to act like I had always been there,
Because you don’t just walk into a cave,
toss your coat on a stalagmite,
and sing out your homecoming.
You changed the pitfalls,
The triggers for tumbling rocks.
If I figured out the game, I tasted
The pure water from your hidden veins
Of cracking gold. But we both knew
That most times I brought the wrong gear,
Spoke too loud, or stepped too carelessly.
Only an alien fungus could have flourished there,
And even now
I still can’t see in the dark.