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To enter the tiny cave,
swim under the waterfall
like a slow torpedo,
matches and candles
in plastic bags.

Inside the dark cave
a tight, eerie silence
is held in the
shivering bodies of
skinny boys.

A match strikes,
illuminating walls of
black goo, then
the candle imprints
youthful shadows mixed
with slime.

Up to our waist,
the water holds us in
a sealed womb:
the chattering teeth
and trembling legs,

a kind of violence,
like bugs drowning.
A villainous laugh,
somebody snuffs the candle,
a quick blindness.

To leave the cave,
one goes underwater as if
drowning, as if heading for the light
at the tunnel’s end,
the first breath of birth.


Dah’s seventh poetry collection is Something Else’s Thoughts (Transcendent Zero Press) and his poems have been published by editors from the US, UK, Ireland, Canada, Spain, Singapore, Philippines, Poland, Australia, Africa, and India. He is a Pushcart Prize and Best Of The Net nominee and the lead editor of the poetry critique group, The Lounge. Dah lives in Berkeley, California, where he is working on his eighth book of poetry. Visit

© 2019, Dah


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