Lascaux

By Joseph Spece Joseph Spece
Struck a pair of stones to start off. Left behind
ten men curled like scythes round the fire.
Left behind the bracing moon. Passed a pack
of ibex, passed the mammoth. Left the carious
canines before the rath, left the scapula—
freed space for petal dyes, for fixatives.
Passed (in a dream) Chauvet. Alsace. Lorraine.
Past the scree, past the wolf standing sentinel, her
mouth. Struck two stones to hearten the blaze,
sped up; pulled from the sack the manganese, the gilt
mixture of ochre and ore, the animal fat,
the deer bristle. The hare I speared fresh
for better reds. Mash of berries in a rolled frond.
Looked back—still breathing, still lone, set
bone to the bare wall: summoned up the aurochs
in a dervish turn, flank hot with lashes, all hot with dying and kneeling
down. Then nothing. Then the quiet
credit of our kind.

Source: Poetry (November 2009).

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This poem originally appeared in the November 2009 issue of Poetry magazine

November 2009
 Joseph  Spece

Biography

Joseph Spece received BA degrees in English and philosophy from Boston College in 2005 and an MFA from Columbia University in 2009.

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Social Commentaries, History & Politics

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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