Academic journal article African American Review

Tunnel Rats

Academic journal article African American Review

Tunnel Rats

Article excerpt

With flashlight, knife and .45, bravado deserted skirmishes ago, I drop into what could become my grave, scorpions, snakes, booby traps, the enemy armed and crouched in a coil of darkness, fear forcing me forward on my knees in the mud through a labyrinth like the mind, a thousand dangers met a thousand times. What lurks there? There? Waiting to bloom in the light I carry, face me and die.

I am a rodent the enemy cannot kill and eat, but there is a certain cruel kinship that I recognize and hate even as hissing, we make deadly embrace, eyes wide, never more awake, knife in fist, I meet my hunched nightmare, my mirror twin face to face, kill him and kill my hateful self. Sometimes there are several of the enemy sleeping, small emaciated murderers, women, infants, sometimes they are a whole world underground, snipers, a meager yet effective army, and we are harried, haunted until our nerve snaps.

There is no real way up or out of darkness, no real way back through constricted caverns clotted with loudening fearfulness, fouled, filthy, crawling toward light, I am reaching for light in a dream, whatever time has passed as my body thickens in middle age, I sweat and shoot straight up, Fowler's position in a hospital bed, dull-eyed to whatever the white-clad apparitions want of me, would have me do, as they try to get in and I try to get out of my head. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.