This week’s poem, John Reinhart’s “out of the cave,” takes a rather dim view of our overabundance of light. I love how this poem grounds its lament in light-seeking acts both banal and mythic, and I love its praise for the time we spend in the dark.

Reinhart’s essay “One More Ride” recently won the Maine-Related Nonfiction Category of the Topsham Public Library Joy of the Pen competition. A member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association, Reinhart’s latest collection is a twisted take on grammar, “Horrific Punctuation.” He teaches at the Maine Coast Waldorf School in Freeport and lives in Brunswick.

Poets, please note that submissions to Deep Water are open through the end of the year. Deep Water is especially eager to share poems by Black writers, writers of color, Indigenous writers, LGBTQ writers and other underrepresented voices. You’ll find a link to submit in the credits below.

out of the cave
By John Reinhart

lightbulbs planted in fall, dead, burnt out, shattered
shards spread along the bare, dark earth, only the faintest
reminder of the book read at bedtime

neat rows of promise neglected for years, forgotten,
rotting until some electric version of the second coming

let there be light bulbs, said the god of incandescence, god of the city,
god of long working hours, god of no sleep, god of deteriorating eyesight,
god who drenched the moon in tungsten and paid off the stars

living in the light of our ancestors, burning away pterodons to launch
one more email before bed, late night reruns of I Love Lucy
squeezing brontosauri until their eyes pop because we are going

to turn the earth into a star of its own, we will be seen
from Pluto in some vain hope that he’ll give up Persephone,

as if shedding light on vacuous dark ever changed someone’s ways, as if
we didn’t need to submerge ourselves in darkness first,
generating our own light out of candles and childhood songs

redeemed in the spring as a young child digs
in the wet leaves, pebbles, and poor soil,
a glimmer catches her eye

Megan Grumbling is a poet and writer who lives in Portland. Deep Water: Maine Poems is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. “out of the cave,” © 2022 by John Reinhart, was first published in The Aurorean. It appears by permission of the author. Submissions to Deep Water are open now and through the end of the year. For more information, go to

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