Bangor Cave
M.P. Jones IV

 Then we drove through the red, mapless
mud of washed-out, wandering roads
through old prohibition country
until our sunken tires could go no further
and walked on. The carved hillside
rose like walls around the path.
You pointed up, to the stonetower, and
I could feel the fedora-hatted guard’s eyes
behind the iron sights of a Winchester,
as if they were borne by the very rock.
We went on, into the cave’s mouth,
past ash-burns from a teenage campfire,
the thirty foot onyx-marble counter,
below the flowstone trestle, and further,
past where candlewax & chalk led us
down a hewn-rock staircase, into the night:

flashbulb like a sorcerer divining
soot and shadows out of jagged wall
and cave mist; the gimlet beam of light
augured strange questions out of bare rock,
and my mind split like oak sheaves
struck to the heartwood by lightning,  
like the crash of a river underground,
and I was opened forever.

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