In The Cave of Me

By Leticia Urieta

In the cave of me, an enclosed chamber which is dank and musty since the passage tumbled closed, I am running my fingernails along the cracks, the crevices crusted over with sediment that has calcified and closed me off from the light that used to filter in and let things grow in the dark. Each pass of my finger, each scrape peels back more and more pieces of glassy sand and dark rock that makes a hole to the outside.

If I let in the light, wind might blow the passage closed again, might sweep away my work and set the cave to howling. I keep scraping, little by little, because rain follows wind, sunlight follows rain and both are needed to grow.

When the time comes, I will raise a glass and drink the cool rain water, holding the cup with blistered, bleeding fingers in a toast to the organisms that sprout in the thin beam of light. With more excavation it will get wider, wide enough to climb through. The cave will always be there long after I won’t need the sanctuary, as ancient as the spinal cord of the mountain or the base that is the feet, a safe haven in the storm for creatures to go in for the night.