The caves seem changed now,
harder to traverse.
With the guide near, we felt a sense of confidence.
Stepping onward; trekking with fervor and excitement.
Now we call out for the guide,
but we know she has gone before us and stands above us
in the light.
slipping on wet rock
one less spark to show our way
and one less voice to echo off of the cave walls
“Don’t turn left. It’s all dead ends that way.”
She knows, because she has explored that path,
and come to the end of it.
I recite to those behind me where the steep drops hide
and pray her echoes don’t escape my memory
before I find my way to level ground
and can feel the sun for myself.