I descend cracked concrete stairs into a tunnel that winds under the streets of NYC. I have some fear. It is very dark and feels hollow. I hear subtle rattling in the distance, the sound pinging off the damp walls, calling to me? With every step comes a commitment to the journey and curiosity about the destination. The longer I walk the louder the rattling. Light ahead. Closer…to what? Silence. I gingerly walk through an aperture and am greeted by several skeletons. Each one has a gold kiss on its cheekbone. Light from a crack in the tunnel’s ceiling wraps them in warmth. I feel embraced, welcomed, as if they have been waiting for me for a long time. I know I am home. There are so many questions: Who are they? Why are they here? Why have they waited for me? Who left the kiss on their cheeks? Before I can ask, one skeleton steps forward and offers me a loaf of bread, saying, “For the journey back up.” I don’t want to leave, but waking life intervenes and I “feel it in my bones” that the tunnel has brought me to the mountain top.
Bare Bones Truth filters into the soul
Between the tendons of our lives,
And like a hungry dog, doesn’t let go
Until it has done its work.
It gnaws down,
Seals us with its golden kiss,
And heaves us back into the thick of life,
Stark but strong.