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|  THE CAVE FLOATERS

 
  Let's go Jake
into the buried caves
of Cro-Magnon. Too tricky
for you to be able
to crawl
through the long low tunnels or walk
the craggy slippery paths,
your muscles too weak,
too unsure
of even the smooth ground.

But let's imagine
we can float instead like Chagall creatures,
self-illuminated, and see
outpourings of paintings:
bison mammoth rhino bear.
Reindeer, elaborately-antlered,
that glisten brilliant, and race
the fields of rocky wall.

Hold my hand and we'll go deeper,
squeeze through a narrow hole, close your eyes,
and we'll float
to the opening of the wide cavern beneath.
Where a magnificent sculpture
of a male and female bison,
each two feet long, in the dark,
has been worn by the touch
of ancient humans.

See the child's footprints
that played on a mud ledge forty thousand years ago,
the negative imprint
of the child's hand on the wall.
The father blew ochre pigment onto it,
onto the blackness of stone.
It stayed there all these years.
That was me. That
was your hand.


from Forever the Last Time
Wolsak & Wynn
2004
Copyright © Jim Slominski