After Caving

Our bruised bones happy,
wise in mysteries,
rid of tales,
we stretch out on rocks
in the revelation of the sun,
pick at the mud-scales on our legs
and are rich in the pain of matted hair.
The cave is a woman, cool and ripe,
but we will not yield again.
She beckoned us before, down the rope,
into the patternless labyrinth,
and we crawled for hours
seeking the place where we were
before we were born—
but we did not say it that way:
it would be silly to tell
each other what we know,
and later we squeeze dry socks
onto our feet and laugh.


Originally published in Clock Radio #1, October 1984.

Lloyd Shaw

Born in 1936, Lloyd Shaw grew up in North Carolina and went on to study English at Vanderbilt University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He then spent his entire career as an English professor at Prince George's Community College in Largo, Maryland. In retirement, he returned to North Carolina. Lloyd died on February 2, 2011.

Cover Image:Vincent Foret