Touring Cueva de las Monedas I. by Charlotte Pence
published in her book, Code (Black Lawrence Press, 2020)
Caves are not caves; they are thresholds
into other worlds. We enter, blink into being,
inhale as our ancestors would have for ripeness
of bear or carnage from cougar's feeding.
Safe scents of cold clay, mud puddles,
and prayer pull us in past stalactites,
past crystal-calcium horns, past
claw marks that rib walls in white.
The map-less dark reminds of centuries
when people knew they did not possess
dominion over nature and its predators, pathogens,
and meteors. Now we pretend otherwise,
claim bright futures begin with plans
and paths we clear with fire and hungry hands.