In the Cave of Your Birth

by Eric Raanan Fischman

By U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters (From inside cave entrance Uploaded by Dolovis) [CC BY 2.0 ( or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Claws will be essential, if you are
to dig your way out. You will need
jointed limbs, a musculature, a mouth.
Which will you choose, fur

or feathers? Will you sense by light,
sound, or touch? Already you can smell
the wetness of the mud, the air
powdered with broken stone. Will you

taste its musk, or squeeze it between
your feelers? Your skeleton may be exo,
endo, or not-at-all, and horns are
a prime defense against predators.

The cave will be dark, though lit by
green, fluorescent glowworms. What
will be your appetite? The soil is rich
in iron, but so is blood. Choose, for

in a few moments, the corridor will open.
Your body will be flooded with the storm
of birth. And you will awaken in the warm,
red earth, remembering nothing.


Eric Raanan Fischman is a NYC transplant in Colorado and holds an MFA from Naropa University’s Jack Kerouac School. He has been a featured performer at Bouldering Poets, Don’t Yell At Me, and ALOC Media’s Jazzetry Night, and is a sometimes writer for and teacher for Beyond Academia Free Skool’s Summer Poetry Camp at the Love Shovel Ranch in Nederland. His first book, Mordy Gets Enlightened, is forthcoming. (Two poems in the online journal)

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