Saturday, May 7, 2011

“Bracken”

I stood back from the edge
            Expert hands
                        direct my legs through the harness
                        check the hooks
                        pull hard against
                                    the rope
The others wait in nonchalance
            Their laughter
                        spilling around me
                        diving into deeper darkness
                        “Test your weight”
I scoot to the ledge
            my hands grasp
                        the rope
                        TIGHT           
My legs sway free
            feet—
                        butting against the cavern wall
                        repelling me
                                    Outward
                                    Into Space
I look down
            my helmet’s light beam
                        bounces—
                                    off rock
                                    disappears—
                                                into the black void
            Suspended in space and time
I feel
            the rope
            make certain the hooks don’t bite my fingers
                        inches
                                    FEET
                                                YARDS
Above me glimmers a pinprick of light
            Shadow embraces me like a long lost lover
I surrender
            to emptiness
            swaying on
                        the rope
                                    I embrace
                                                its braided strength
                                    I accept
                                                its infallibility
                                    I believe
                                                it won’t let me fall
My feet land in moon dust
            expert hands
                        unbuckle the hooks
                        direct my legs through the harness
                        pull hard against
                                    the rope

Copyright 1998 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman

"Bracken" describes the first time I entered the bat cave at Braken through the shaft from which guano was mined.          

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