The Other Way

Beneath the stone I found a pale universe,
the cool, almost brittle shell of the earth
turned on its back.  I watched a hundred creatures
scatter like so many pieces of starlight
as a universe expands, and so to better understand,
I propped the heavy stone, refused to let it fall back.

Beneath the earth where my shovel first cut its path
I opened a doorway into a cold hallway
where time had been pressed, then broken apart.

Beneath the dirt I found a white whispering root
that wound along a rotted stream.
I wondered how it knew any direction
beside the one that told all things to go deep.

Beneath the root I saw a lamp shining,
the kind of light only an earthworm follows.
Pebbles leaned toward the strange light,
and the thick old bone of a skull
that had long since abandoned its usual thinking
stared in the same direction. 

And like the instinct that a compass knows,
the darkness seemed to turn of its own volition,
to take a reading, and continue on its long way down.