Illustration by Cindy Ren, design by Brian Chang

A Cave

in Verse

Cry three nights in a row
and you win a prize. You’re blindfolded
and driven to the nearest cave.
Cup your hands,
shower yourself with cave water.
And explain yourself. 
One of the nights might come easily – 
I watched a boy sing an old woman’s song
for instance, or I’m afraid 
it’s over soon. But to speak the others 
you must stumble into the cave pool
and swim laps, breast-stroking into the dark 
and glittering tunnel and back to the mossy
entrance, and each lap you’ll need 
to swim deeper and stronger, and 
though you wouldn’t admit it
to your rational friends, you imagine 
the eyes and the brain might look like this,
might be connected by unwept tears like this, 
and you’re shocked when your hand smacks 
the back wall and you follow the echoes
and you trace the perimeter and 
dripping over the moss 
you cannot find the mouth. 

— Jordan Cutler-Tietjen is a senior in Jonathan Edwards College.

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