That time we were in the cave
                    in a small boat
a few people had jumped
                    out already into
black waters going further
                    into a cliff than
we could see the boat man
                    un-shirted himself
dove and tugged our boat’s
                    rope slowly while
in the cave’s mouth’s
                    outline on the surface
suddenly many bodies
                    moving outward
struggling like they weren’t
                    actually moving
the light a golden
                    frame around them
like an old painting holds out
                    some gold thing
we don’t feel much
                    magnetized toward now
I felt a muscle of myself
                    clench to stop the draining
of people from
                    that time in the cave like
a gold frame very high and
                    vertical almost
obscures the highest part
                    of the picture we don’t
dare look up to the sky
                    also has a black mouth
and everyone’s heads
                    shrug upwards for air just
their necks and heads pulling like
                    babies who go where they
are slowly tugged but
                    also will themselves backward
to a soft dark they try
                    not to see moving dutifully
toward the bright mouth


"It’s this life I want, this valley / between the hills and high places"

The Hotel

From The Hotel Years; translated by Michael Hoffman