blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsFall 2009  Vol. 9. No. 2






Foot Print & Torch Wipe

Chauvet, c. 27,000 BP

Something of us to prove our afterlife.
Hurried with charcoal on the cave wall of Chauvet.

The hands drip ochre; they fumble with the Kodak.
What is your mother’s maiden name, your wife’s

Middle initial? Favorite sport or pet? You have successfully
Changed your password.
                                         The footprints of the cave’s

Last visitor tell us he was ten or twelve.
We know his height—approx. 4’ 3”.

As his pine-pitch torch tapered down, he’d wipe
The ashen top against the cave side, once against an auroch

Once against a cave bear, the way my father would flick
The wavering orange tip of his Lucky Strike

From his lawn chair to the fireflied grass. Our leavings.
The boy crawled lightward,
                                            on his feet the pollen of an Aurignacian spring.

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