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Phtoo © magmarcz.

Spelunking: What My Father Taught Me About the Light

Photo © magmarcz.

 

For Christopher, July 1933–May 2019

Your elegant fingers
Glowing in the head lamp
Were a welcome diversion from the dark that laid next to us.
It was like an open mouth,
Ready to swallow
Anyone that entered whole.
With a single flourish you tied the knot and tested it
But a pull wasn’t necessary.
You knew what you were doing
But it reassured me all the same.

You showed me how to hold the rope for the descent
And I asked “does it have a bottom?”
With a reassuring voice you moved your head
As you dangled over the edge
Holding your position steady
To reveal a rocky floor just below us.
“Sure, just look.”

“I’ll go before you to show you the way and steady the rope.”
And so you climbed and then
Bid me to follow.

“You can do this.”

Encouraged by your voice,
Comforted by your steady hand on the rope,
I climbed into your light.

Geoff Knowlton lives in Princeton, Mass.

Posted in: Friends in Africa, Poetry

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