the earth’s throat


Vicki Feaver
This is the earth’s throat.
When we shout, it shouts back.
It only has to wait to eat:

boys hurling stones
over the precipice, poised
as if a breath

could topple them
into the abyss; a girl
laid fainting on the ledge.

A cyclist passes, wheels
inches from a lip
crumbling like biscuit.

You hug the rock-wall,
grasping at ferns
sprouting wherever water

has trickled into crevices.
I walk behind you, repeating
the psalm: Thy rod and staff

comfort me… though I walk
through the valley
of the shadow of death…

I don’t know why we’re here:
why we didn’t turn back
at the first bend where the path
seemed to travel into air;
why we’re honeymooning
in mountains at all;

unless we’ve slipped
through the crust of the earth
and arrived in a circle of hell

and this is the punishment
for coming to the end of love
and daring to love again:

to walk along a path
cut into soft red rock
high on the wall of a gorge

in a dance where the caller cries
two steps to the left,
a little push

Photo by Holger Link on Unsplash