Carlsbad Cavern

Rage Hezekiah

We rode the elevator into the earth’s bowel—

meandered paths in cool, wet air. Wove

between speleothems, our guide’s bright

light just beyond our faces. He led us

deep into a spacious mouth where you

& I sat close on curved earth, rounded

from years of heavy tourists. The ranger

told us to await the dark, & I readied myself,

pressed into the damp, back firm against

earthen walls. I blinked into obsidian

oblivion & registered my breath, wiggled

invisible fingers inches from my face. Stilled

my rabbit heart. A palm on my breast, & I heard

a practiced silence, my own unscreaming. Waited

for the touch to end. When light emerged,

you were laughing, your hapless grope a joke.

You always knew how to make me afraid—

I let you get away with all of it.

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