Deep inside the cave, a red ochre animal
gallops across the wall. She painted it
to summon food. She painted it to banish
nightmare. The painting is a lamp that shines
on the maker and sometimes the stranger
who wanders into silence with a shiver.
It’s all about what you’re not supposed
to see: the body’s inner pink. A quick
private blankness in the back of a moving
taxi. Yesterday I rounded a curve on the trail
and there in a sunny meadow stood two
young women, just talking, but nearly naked:
one wearing only black underpants, the other
beginning to pull on jeans. In memory, their full
breasts glow so brightly I can’t see their faces.
I kept walking fast, hunting for something
privately. Unmarked graves, someone told me,
for slaves lived here. As if I could honor
any kind of hunger just by looking at its traces.