And he entered, great spelunker,
the resonant and ancient darkness,
that empty ventricle keeping
the earth’s heart beating with the silent calls
of bats, their acrid guano blanketing
the cold, stone floor.
Such hollowness, so far beneath the surface,
and yet the sunlit world still stepping
to more infectious rhythms up above
never once tempted him with its pulsations—
that was a land of prattle, and light so bright
it blotted out the rarer glows he sought.
On he walked, no flashlight in his hand.
He closed his eyes, preferring
a darkness of his own to the black
of that slick gullet, the cave he could not stop
from swallowing him. Soon he reached the room
where glowworms dangled sticky threads
to catch unwary insects. They taunted his shut eyes
with hints of incandescence.
He shivered in the dampness of that space,
but in the end,
it was easy for him to slide his eyes awake
in the dark and empty cavern
and count the living stars upon the walls.