The Spirit Cellar
A cold place and dark
the spirit cellar.
You grope in vain for a switch of light, an opening,
a door, hatch, tunnel, window, or—blind fingertips practicing
scales on air—a rediscovery of wine racks, or jars wool-clad
in dust, sentry on splintery pine shelves.
Raspberry jam, maybe, or long-ago homemade
black-plum preserves gone crystalized to sugar,
pickled beets, even overwintering bulbs perhaps—
any signs of sustenance
you must have once laid by
against just such a moment.
Only shadows put up to feed on? recollections
too well preserved? Only this
sleepy lack of hunger you suspect
means you are now quite near starvation? Eat
bitterness, then, lest it devour you first.
Lick moisture from the walls of memory.
But most of all, stop plotting
how you can escape, stop
disbelieving how you got here.
Save your energy. It will cost everything
you never knew you know
simply to be where you are now.