My Tunnel

by Benjamin Busch


I’ve begun a tunnel. You’d call it a hole.
Its width is practical, follows a clay vein,
eases through, smooth, only as wide as my shoulders.
The length can’t be measured from where you live
and I’m sorry you’ll never understand why
I gave up my name, closed my eyes and went down.

I’ve kept notes, marked where I struck stone, turned,
cut through cemeteries and drank from the walls of wells.
I’m inching forward, under all of you,
beneath your basements and between the roots of trees.
I’ve lost all sense of true north, which is fine.

I’m scraping my way into the valleys
where the soil goes deep and buries me like early man.
I’ve left so many rooms behind, after all these years,
the size of me sleeping.
You’re welcome to use them.
I’ll never be back.

Sometimes I come up at night,
dragging pails of dirt, sit on the pile and stare at the stars.
I see your homes, glowing embers where the forests were,
and I want to tell you about the layers of salt, and silt and ash,
all the times the surface has been drowned and burned.

I don’t want to be remembered as clean,
just an earthling without enemies or dependencies.
There are no nations underground. No armies and no flags.
Sometimes, though I can’t be sure,
I hear you walking above me,
and I love to imagine you’re wondering where I am.

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