a love song for the handprints in the Pech Merle caves pt. 1
It’s 10:42 p.m. on a park bench, the lanterns all lit up,
and I know the exact satellite-blessed time
because my thumbs are getting cold out here,
texting you in the buzz-flash of this little screen.
It is too cold for mosquitoes and I am grateful, rapturous.
Sometimes I like to write poetry with time in mind,
fallen civilizations, forgotten names.
I trip over anachronisms–
the electric light on my glasses,
this phone humming in my hands.
I feel obsolete in advance.
But we all still know the telegraph
beat of our hearts, don’t we? And
this was never about telegraphs.
My love is vellum scrolls and papyrus secrets.
My love is cave paintings,
sometimes buried, sometimes lost,
sometimes scoured down to clean stone.
It has had meaning draped over it
by such terribly certain strangers.
It has been drawn out by more women
than History cares to assume.
We have been whispering in the dark all our lives,
you, me, my grandmother kissing boys in the orange groves.
We have always lit up the dark with something.
We have always looked for ways to close the distance.
In a hundred years
I will not know my name. In a thousand
no one will. The world will molt, transform,
bloom into something unrecognizable.
You will not know my words, child,
the way I do.
Your modes, your mediums,
all newly built; mine all dust.
But you will still know this–
this warm bright thing in my hands,
the way someone else’s words
(across space and time and
all these buried things)
lights up the dark.