Previously titled “The Left-Hand Path.”

I mine my past. My hands
bleed from ruptured calluses. I thrust
the shovel into moist roots and hurry
up the tunnel, then dump
the memory in the sun. The piles

of unexamined fears infect
me. I ignore the itch, shovel and run
until I build a hill of these
crumbs, a smooth entrance hiding
craggy caverns. When I meet someone I like

too much, show them this tomb, shove
my inner child at them, cry and scream,
hope they will stay, but know they
won’t, I go deeper. Dig and carry,

dig and carry, sweat run bleed, until
I can’t find the surface, lost in the maze.
The only way out is to look
at each piece of my past, and hope

the inner child goes to sleep.