Underwater

21 May 1991
Under a Pennsylvania lake, where people
Don't breathe, where it's motionless-
Black and everyone lies still,
Sometimes, every hundred years or so,
Someone is struck by a sinking nickel
From lovers on the shore, or old fishermen
In a boat, or a tiny Japanese boy wishing upon
His faith -- someone wishing for luck, let's say,
And you've wished to take me there,
Where a heartbeat is not important
And only happens once a day,
Too deep for the tiny waves, for the skipping
Of shale rocks, too deep for the color of a trout,
Much too deep to know about rain.
Those people aren't dead and haven’t yet drowned,
They are exploring the old coal shafts,
They are even eating fist-sized chunks of coal
As if to say that when a person becomes too cold
And senseless, he must eat such things;
Become so hungry for such things that he'll
Glide mouth-first into a cavern wall,
Suck the Earthen nipples of stalagmites.

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