Hidden Places

I climb into places, dark places. Places you can hang your sorrow on a bone. There are bugs here, tiny ones that gather around elbows. When I climb into places, dark places, I curl my head inside corners. Take off my boots and wiggle my toes in a pool of water. My bare feet are laced with mud and a worm rests between my toes. There may be a rat or two. I hear them sometimes. I do not welcome them to crawl across my shoulders, and I do not chase them away. When the world has hushed to silence, I tell the cave my troubles. I place them on a string, which I wind around a stone, whispering. Did you know? Did you know? I take my hair off and hang it on the ceiling, and I sparkle invisible under the earth. There are songs here, too quiet to make out with your ears. When I have the courage to hear the songs, I do not sing along. I would rather listen to the earth moan and hiccup with the place in my bones that is empty. The earth tells me things, and I agree. Even though I am not sure I understand. There are times the earth turns ever so slightly on its side, and I turn too. Sometimes I lose a treasure in the mud. This is okay, because the earth always hands me something back. I am not sure what it is, but when I close my eyes, I can hear my eyelashes drip down my cheek. It is not raining, but I am not afraid. I do not squabble with the things the earth takes from me. Soon I will be thrust into a corner of the forest. The squirrels will be laughing, but maybe that’s because of the rats. A deer the size of my hand will lead me into a place of rest. And the fear will be gone.

Carol Krause is a poet who delights in emerging from the underworld smeared in mud, forgetting everything she has left behind in a hole. Carol’s poetry has recently appeared in PRISM international, Minola Review, The Fiddlehead, Best Small Fictions, and is forthcoming in Augur Magazine