dark tunnel

by Kristina Woodhill

i will swallow you whole, woman
envelope you like the screaming trains
lost in my mile and a half long black maw,
chugging hard, spinning metal on metal
panting toward that teasing pinpoint of light

i will fling myself at your terrible mouth
i will ride on old trails made new;
you are but a blown out old cavity
rotted by time, a new flat surfacing,
capping two rows of teeth no longer able to chew

i will bend your mind, woman
midway through my stomach you will wretch,
my acid walls slimed with fear of mortals come before;
you will have to touch me, your headlight dimming,
and i will refuse you clear direction

i will bring my own bag of tricks,
my own bottle full of strong spirits,
my father's clear eyes, my mother's steady hands
my brother's laughter, loud and scornful
at bullies, my ghostly sidekick on your doorstep

i have the child-you here with me, woman
cowering beneath my blanket of dark terrors
her wee voice still captive of nightmares, unable
to call out to the light step of a parent's reassurance
mind frozen, mind frozen, mind mine

i call the child-me to myself at any time;
she will ride securely on my shoulders
in an ichabod crane world where two heads
are braver than one; on my steed of wheels
my headlight will be the moon shining before us

her small hand in mine, our fingers push
the button on, off, on, off, new stars pricking,
tickling this black hole into confusion,
our laughter will echo off cracking walls
as we split through to the waiting light


Posted on 10/16/2009
Copyright © 2021 Kristina Woodhill

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Steven Kenworthy on 10/17/09 at 03:00 AM

this is sexy. not in a sexual way, in an honest, burning, raw kind of way. in a charging kind of a brave and warm kind of way, but cold. maybe that made no sense, but this is probably one of my favorite pieces of yours. delight

Posted by Alison McKenzie on 10/17/09 at 05:33 AM

That is some kinda mirror, sending you images of each of your selves, one after the other, and the way we are so hard on ourselves.

Posted by Clara Mae Gregory on 10/17/09 at 02:18 PM

Wow,Kristina. This is powerfully heavy. Parts of it are quite intriguing and I do not understand it all and yet it sucks me in and I relate it in my own ambiguous terms. These metaphorical descriptions entwined throughout your poem are just awesome and every time I reread it, I "see" something else I did not perceive on previous reads. This is quite thought provoking. Thanks for sharing your unique and gifted work.

Posted by Charlie Morgan on 10/17/09 at 05:49 PM o man, i'm speechless, i do reading it rhree times felt like i was stepping into [brecome that maw--'her' too] and the child-you tooo much, keen turn o' phrase.

Posted by Gregory O'Neill on 10/17/09 at 06:09 PM

Fanciful with strong images. I felt pulled along into each new stanza. It's scary and Count Chocula?!? Excellent. Thanks.

Posted by Elizabeth Jill on 10/17/09 at 10:32 PM

This really is like a mind-bending dark tunnel, flashing point of light, your metaphors crashing into the swerves and curves leaving me breathless, wondering what's happening, and what happened, what brought us here? And then the two hand-in-hand spinning toward that pin of light at the end?! I am dizzy now. So, I'm going right back for another ride!

Posted by Quentin S Clingerman on 10/19/09 at 12:19 AM

Unique analogy of facing childhood nightmares and fears even as an adult. Excellent writing.

Posted by Jo Halliday on 10/20/09 at 07:06 AM

The skilfulness of this simply stuns me! A complex theme, brought out in its vareigated blacks and whites with such weaving, and such imagination.

Posted by LK Barrett on 10/21/09 at 01:59 AM

...and i thought spooky old closets were a problem...thank you for writing the inside and outside of this the boogie-man snarly

Posted by Alison McKenzie on 10/29/09 at 06:32 AM

Congratulations on POTD!!! VERY well deserved!!!!

Posted by Dave Fitzgerald on 10/29/09 at 10:52 AM

Congrats on POTD Kristina :)

Posted by Elizabeth Jill on 10/29/09 at 12:57 PM

From the first words this poem is dizzying and never lets up, never lets down! I bow, my friend! Much deserved congratulations ;)

Posted by Jennifer Ragan on 10/29/09 at 01:39 PM


Posted by Gregory O'Neill on 10/29/09 at 06:40 PM

You've pedaled your way to a terrific potd. How cyclic of you! Best to you. Thanks.

Posted by Jim Benz on 10/29/09 at 07:22 PM

Yes. Confuse the SOB tunnel. I like the idea of reclaiming the child-self and riding together into the maw, laughing defiantly. In fact, I just plain like the defiance, not to mention the way you transform light from an unreachable destination (the "out there") to a source of action (inner resolve). Very nice.

Posted by Melissa Panther on 10/29/09 at 08:29 PM

There's something urgent and forceful and simply compelling about this piece that makes it difficult to look away from. Congrats on POTD!

Posted by Laura Doom on 12/24/09 at 11:58 PM

Somewhat unsettling to find you addressing my selves here :>) -- felt like all my hallows had come at once...wholly merited, hypothetically broken mare of the day...

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