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






Halted Bison Bellowing, Reclining Bison Turning Its Head
 Altamira, c. 17,600 BP

We are designed for the moment, writes late
& dying Lowell. Out of the Serengeti trees,

Bipedal we descended to savannah grass:
Taking notice, all eye & larynx.
                                                  We lie in wait

& make the kill—a newborn gazelle,
Sliced from its skin with an artless hand ax—

Taking notice of the Alpha Male’s technique.
Now step forward a thousand thousand generations, until

The ice pulls back from the cliffs of the Dordogne
& a pair of covert eyes record the bison herd

So minutely each face & tuft of hair, each twist of neck
Is hoarded into memory.
                                        Against the limestone

Synapse guides hand, pulsing to release the crimson forms,
Stilled as they bellow, stilled as—to us—they turn.

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