After-Cave is also about how we are part of and separate from and rub up against the non-human world, what some might call the “natural” world or the “wilderness.” These words go in quotes because conceptually and linguistically they are made things, and what I am attempting to describe is the world that isn’t made by humans but is rather made or co-created and shaped by creatures or weather or other forces which we may or may not be able to detect or name.
The world of After-Cave is a feral landscape, a haunted place of shelters and ruins, burrows and houses, thickets and churches, mountains and factories, mud and schoolyards. Familiar and ethereal structures create incidents of habitat and erasure, wondering about the borders of the feminine, the human, the animal. In other words, it is full of mirrors.
The narrator of After-Cave begins by telling us: “I am 15. Female. Human (I think).” Right away she wishes to be known to us as she is known to herself and others, but she also needs to tell us that her relationship to those terms is uncertain, those categories and markers troubled. She is at the threshold of seeing through language, of knowing and feeling what is most difficult to say, and of knowing and feeling that what is said often hides what is truly known and felt. The parenthetical gesture of disclosing her own confusion is therefore a gesture of intimacy to the reader: she wants to tell you the truth."