they asked could I help to get her out,
she – prone fetal within a cocoon under blankets,
deep beneath ground in the cave’s recess

(how far can the heart burrow?)

I excavate a deep and long core,
slowing as I near her, for fear
I will damage her, close there
to the edge

(an onion-skin of spun-silk separates us)

poke through and breathe, I say
taste the air and the light…

(…or let it collapse behind you, I think I hear her say)

so near there, just on the other side,
I ascend to gain foothold, I yell Stand back!
and I kick through

silver fragments of cocoon float into the core of light
exposed through the portal beneath my foot

she is covered in a fine dust, a cowl of rebirth,
I extend my hand to her, she takes it, and we ascend
slowly to the surface

Chagall 2019

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