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.
Image of a blind cave fish from wikimedia commons: