Take No Pictures, Take No Pictures, Leave No Footprints

by Helen V. Patterson

I observe a new species

Creeping through caverns of darkness
calloused fingers trailing over stalagmites
echolocating cries, distended lips
drinking from limestone-infused pools
wept by grieving stalactites

Pouncing: the crunch-squelch
of a cave-spider dying,
twitching death-throes, eight legs
disappearing between hungry jaws
in a passion of tongue and teeth

Perfectly adapted apex predator
ignoring me and my electronic eye,
unaware of my heart throbbing,
my fascinated horror bleeding
into love and longing

After ascending, I delete the footage
wipe the data, let the cave system remain
unmapped and unknown.

Helen V. Patterson

H.V. Patterson (she/her) lives in Oklahoma and writes speculative poetry and fiction. Her favorite things to write about are weird creatures and the dark side of science and folklore. She’s a cofounder of Horns and Rattles Press. Recent stories and poems published or upcoming with Sliced Up Press, Diet Milk Magazine, Creature Publishing, Flame Tree Press, Eerie River, Flash Fiction Online, and Black Spot Books. Find her on Twitter @ScaryShelley and on Instagram @hvpattersonwriter