PETROGLYPH: THE HOOF PRINT TRADITION
Thirty thousand years ago, the day was made of ash,
powdered bone, fat, and soil, then fired, and fernlike
shapes became thoughts. Delicate doe prints, pretty
stamps into the snow—their congregation a crisscross
of the social. When did danger enter? Dog tracks
(snowflakes), horse tracks (long-legged birds), boots
(heavy and nationally patterned). Since the trees
have died, trucks have infiltrated the mountains. Rib
cages of six deer dumped beside the road. Boulders
white with the droppings of feeding ravens. An anthropologist writes that the so-called weapons drawn
on cave walls might instead be plants, periodicities
of a female sky. Hooves, sliding under it, with horns.
Humans, as we have always been, peripheral to the
great herds. Their hoof prints, gouged and wind-rocked in the rocks.
THE FALLING BUFFALO
Finger pads pawed the crusted stone, wetted with
ocher and tallow, smeared finger lines to bind them,
as if the side that were alive needed contact with
the other half. Here in our beds, covered with wool,
and there, the stars. We who were once rock are
moving now, though we are supported by bone. We,
road weary and indoors in our minds, the indoor
mind, the social one, worried about others. The
finely painted buffalo is drawn upside down, which
could signify that it is dead or, caught in the vortex
of trance, what the dreamer might have made of
its appearance: We were grazing, then running,
then the ground, which is all we know, suddenly
opened up and betrayed us. Violence of hard earth.
Heaviness, the massive heaviness of the others. Body
count, the oldest count of all.