We noticed some more prints at the foot of a wall: two hands
imprinted in a narrowstrip of clay. The palms were quite visible,
pressed deeper than the lightly marked fingers. Perhaps these
were the prints of one of the artists.

                —Chauvet, DesChamps & Hillaire

   But what can we make of the artist beside him,
   working relentlessly, fabricating,
   past maestra, great creatrix, laboring still,
   fashioning draperies of calcite,
   carpets of flowstone, glittering pillars,
   cadmium, ochre, mother-of-pearl?

   Even as Shaman stroked her womb
   with the tip of his thaumaturgic wand,
   he felt her breath on the nape of his neck.


the head of a little bison had been drawn full face on a small
projection, whereas its body was in profile, as off the animal
had turned to look at us

   After waiting thirty-thousand years
   just to get a load of us, groveling
   down here on our knees before him,
   reading his master's talismanic palm.