I do recall swallows
outside the cave mouth,
and I won’t dishonor them
by turning them into

To say that I have fears
that swoop in and out
of my own depths, taking
odd turns, diving in and
out — that’s true enough.

To surrender all other sense of how
those birds made me feel
to such a one-sided interpretation
is too human. I want something
beyond that from this memory.

Even the thought of them
taking one last plunge all at once
all together into the dark 
before the first thin stream
of bats emerged is not itself dark.

To say these fears that flit within me
seem to presage something
more formidable rising into view
is not incorrect, but is incomplete.
I should say instead that I cannot imagine

that my life would be as full today
if I’d never seen swallows and bats
at Carlsbad Cavern. No need for more
than that.  Mule deer were feeding
on the slopes around the cave entrance

the whole time
this was going on

and I’ve never tried
to make them part

of this mythology.  

There they were,
just being present.
Just doing what they did

in the presence of what others
were just doing. 

One could of course say
that this is just
what I’m doing. But
I’m tired of doing this
and there’s no obvious place

to rise from or plunge
or simply feed now
and Carlsbad’s too far
and it’s winter there anyway.
So I must keep doing this

until something happens.
it seems. Swallows, bats,
deer, wind, stones, fire, 
storms, calm, snow, sleep,
until something happens.

About Tony Brown

A poet with a history in slam, lots of publications; my personal poetry and a little bit of daily life and opinions. Read the page called "About..." for the details. View all posts by Tony Brown

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