The Cave by Rustin Larson

shaft
The Cave
.
The most beautiful thing I saw today
was a damaged square of sidewalk
where an old butternut tree had fallen
and cracked it like a pie crust
revealing a hollowness that plummeted
forty feet down into an abandoned coal-
.
mine shaft.  A room with walls of coal.
I once entered a cave, felt an ancient comfort.  Today
I woke in my room.  When I meditate I plummet
and imagine I can understand bird song, the sidewalk
robin, “For this day we thank thee, for thy pie crust
we thank thee, for our lives…” The song falls
.
down the long shaft of being to where I sit, fallen.
The cave was in Missouri; I felt at home inside; no coal,
just graffiti from Jesse James.  I could see the crusts
of bread strewn in the bandits’ grotto.  Today
however is blind.  I pound the sidewalk
with a stick, hear its hollowness.  Coins plummet
.
as I throw them into the crack.  A buzzard plummets
from an invisible mountain, roses have fallen
and light the cavern with embers, onions walk
out of the garden, sugar burns into a lump of coal,
the pie becomes a rock, the robin creates day,
our ancestors’ bodies sleep in the earth’s crust.
.
If I have time for stories, I trust
so many things are subtracted, plummeted
down into nothingness, just like daylight
without earth for it to shine upon, the fallen
soul’s limitless with wings soaring around a coal
of intention in uncreated space, a walk
.
without soil or solidity.  No, my fragmented walk
is what it is, my mind broken like the crust
of a communion wafer, the lit coal
on the tongue, the destruction, inevitable, plummeting
around and dependent upon and part of the body fallen
from its tower of ashes into unending day.
.
rustin
Rustin Larson’s poetry has appeared in The New Yorker, The Iowa Review, and North American Review. He won 1st Editor’s Prize from Rhino and was a prize winner in The National Poet Hunt and The Chester H. Jones Foundation contests. A graduate of the Vermont College MFA in Writing, Larson was an Iowa Poet at The Des Moines National Poetry Festival, and a featured poet at the Poetry at Round Top Festival.
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