Of Two Caverns by Dom Fonce

The frame of the cave leads to the frame of man


—Stephen Gardiner

With a drip-



calcite fingers nearly

join in tacking embrace—tap and

twist to turn ceiling to floor—in

two Ohio caverns.


One rusts and smuts from human

thumbprints and crumbles

under weight of urban sprawl in


A factory with blown-away—no,


window panes of a lost economic kingdom.


Another is shaved from earth, carving

an opening to Nature’s

carnivorous mouth that echoes, “Come on in.

No need to worry.”

There, in that other town, the Heart-State

fae rubberneck corners and

flutter from pearly tooth to milky canine,

hiding their frail secrets


from the fee-payers. Behind backs, you can hear

their hand-cupped snickering as they

glee from crack to crevice.


Back in Youngstown, a vagrant and brambling

steel—a welding-fused wendigo—share

beans over a blazing fire on the fourth floor, peering

through those battle-torn panes, seeing abandon

like crashed airplanes hilling down

horizon lines.


The two look up, split a glance, catching

the cacophonous drumming of



The same sound you hear

between the tour guide’s droning

speech—as camera-flash steals

your peripheral—and the cackling of cavern-sprites

in that other Ohio town.



Dom Fonce is an undergraduate English major at Youngstown State University. His work has appeared in Ohio’s Best Emerging Poets: An Anthology, The Tishman Review, 3Elements Review, Obra/Artifact, Great Lakes Review, and elsewhere.