The Wisdom of the Cave

If you’re always under the pressure of real identity, I think that is somewhat of a burden. – Mark Zuckerberg

In the cave, our histories are shadows 

on a wall; our memories rote lessons

that flicker and mutate. Fall and spring, 


then and now, captured and interchanged. 

Friezes like post cards sculpted to ornament 

the grotto, endure, resist decay.            


When the shadows dance, we point, open 

our mouths, as if for a split second, something 

shifts, recalibrates. A glimpse of fire and lathe –


and shadow makers. Forms beyond hope. 

Ideas like sirens singing. Cracks in a wall 

that luminate, hint at another source: rivers, 


flora and bursts of color, starlings with iridescent 

wings, shrubs whose roots finger through mud 

for something to drink. A world too fluid to dangle 


from rod and string. How could we want its ranges, moon, 

its chorus marking dawn, its feathered swirl confusing 

predators, its messenger’s glad song? Why should we 


mind the tether anchoring us; the flame that fixes seasons, 

stages night and day, that orients us frontward, ever 

frontward, and keeps the constellations in their place? 






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Copyright © 2021 M. B. McLatchey.  All rights reserved.
Published in SWWIM, January 2022.

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