New Year's Eve
It was near nightfall when we descended upon the cave,
its opening a broad maw like the mouth of a catfish,
tapering into deeper reaches of darkness
We crawled up to the basin - a small pool, no larger in diameter
than a dinner plate, its depth at most six inches. It was unclear how it formed,
whether by time, wind, and water,
or perhaps shaped by human hand
to gather the scant drops of water that seeped from the dank stone.
We knelt down in the failing light of dusk, headlamps illuminating
the portal before us and began to draw water in slow steady pulls, just enough to last us the night.
When the vessels were full
we used our hands to
scoop out gobs of clay and silt that had settled in the bottom, so that more water might be waiting
for whoever might come next with their thirst. I thought perhaps it could be the dam black bear, whose tracks
and claw drags I had seen here once
in the fine mud of the floor
alongside smaller marks, those of her cubs.
When we crested the rise
into view of our camp,
we beheld a room high on the cliff
aglow in orange flicker
against the night, a fire awaiting us, and companions
Can you taste the way in which this sequence