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Readers' Poems

Rachel Deering-untitled artwork.jpg

Content Warning: dark themes

Rachel Deering – The Biology of Caves

Pale troglobites have no need

for colour or shadow,

blind cave fish have abandoned their eyes

over aeons, attuned only to the messages

of movement murmured in subterranean lakes.

Some are white angels who can climb the fury

of a waterfall, others are transparent enough

to reveal the adaptations of their biology -

as I imagine the dull pulse of my own heart,

visible and palpable from behind my ribs.

I have changed too in undisturbed survival

when anchored to the long wait of sunless pauses,

and I have sensed the body of a past self

in the night beside me, felt the density

of its existence: awake, the cut quickens

in the moment of an empty reach, as in caves,

where, tested by the tentative legs of isopods,

the stone remembers the wounds

that water has sliced in slow rivulets.

Yet there are long-departed starlit memories

tunnelled within me, that seek retrieval

from their interment because even when there is no light,

I remind myself, neither to make a friend

nor an enemy of the darkness.

Rachel Deering is a poet who lives in Bath with her cat. Has a love of the natural world and what it can tell us about ourselves. In particular, she loves birds and trees. Her collection Crown of Eggshell is available on Amazon. Twitter @DeeringRachel

Artwork by Rachel Deering

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