Cave Painting

— Renée Schell

Hold the charcoal, black as bear, make a mark
on limestone walls. Utter the words; rename
your fear. Send the sacred breath up in flame
as your kin huddle closer in the dark.

What stories dance on the walls? The aurochs
comes to life. Ice sheets, arrows, the great cat.
No name but stenciled hand — you left us that.
Blood rubbed into stone speaks in aftershocks.

Let the way to the cave be like a child,
lost and mourned in the forest before eyes
were struck and blinded, before hands told lies.
Let rocks block the hole, keep the bison wild.

We strain to hear the echoes of this place.
Bone flute silent. Red ochre hums its trace.

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