We knew we were in a cave

transported, real-not-real
when we heard the birdsong coming down
through the forest just the way, they say
it once had been—except the glass museum
plunk in the former woods—
but you forget, don’t you, tracing brushstrokes
the bull’s eye, prehistory of color painstaking
recreation, pixel by pixel
and thank god we can breathe and crowd
more people than ever walked these woods
or learned to paint ritual creatures
(or dreams or hunt or we don’t really know)
without destroying the dawn of art—
only what’s left of the forest—
and isn’t it glorious, how dark
and atmospheric light and shade play
in this cave?


Ruminating on this article about France’s latest replication of the Lascaux cave paintings…

Sometimes wandering

as a hawk wanders, willful
silence in shadow and sky
though the form is solid—there!
in that bough—you must wait
and wait, grounded
in patience

Would it surprise you
to know the tenuous tether?
What talisman?
What needle’s-eye path
back to hearth?
It bears no explanation

(no bribe or call
but your quiet breath
brings me back)


1. I have been reading Helen Macdonald’s H Is for Hawk. 2. Jenifer is inspiring me with her magical cave poems.

Cave Voices

We don’t know starlight
so long here in the dark
Stay—the labyrinth is safe
quite safe! The monster gone
long and long ago
I didn’t mean to say We
I am quite alone

I follow the thread of her voice
her singing in earth-heart
how unlike the glass-chime
grinding of the spheres
in my clockwork daylight
more like breath of stardust
life-ember hum

The labyrinth is endless
and no cheating death

The thread of her voice
all stardust echoes stilled

The monster is still here
rumbling, low and long