by Andrea Witzke Slot
I have scaled unknown ridges and cliffs,
only to abseil downward, dropping inside
the holes of caves where stalagmites pierced
the floors of darkened rooms. I have found
mines deep within the crevices of sleeping
mountains, waded in underground springs
of manatees, minerals, sand. I have upturned
rocks, searched the roots of trees in acres
of eclipsed valleys, hiked along shores,
lakes, becks, running streams.
Once I stopped for days at a single hillside,
made a bed inside, woke to the sound
of falcons and the distant morning dove,
the sun glinting off pines that reached
upwards with outstretched hands.
But do not tell me that love makes us into fools.
I know the shadows that pause within the folds
of these hills, still miles from where I stand.
I’ve heard the secrets farmers keep, irrigation
and rotating crops, when to move in, when to start a fire.
I’ve seen the red skies. I know the warning of dawn.
I know too that frozen waters can flow,
can once again flow, how fields will blaze
anew, if touched by the sun.
Blame me, but I will open the curtains.
After all, I have lived here for a million years
and am long past finding my way home.