Cave paintings
by Michelle Blake

When we study them we slight desire
but humans already loved the earth

the antelopes with their bounding backs
humpback bison, auroch

On the dark sheath of lime
they called to them, Come, come

Because that is what humans do

We want things




Yes they ate them
but first they watched them—frenzy of hoof
and foreleg, floodscape of sound and gallop
flowing away             away

What herds must have looked like
to limb-bound humans—

god, music




Score of antelope, score of deer

How do you make thunder on walls
lope and arc, lope and arc

In the firelight they saw
the animals dance

lion, bison, antelope, horse

Oh beauty, oh desire

Oh mind unfolding


Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 22, Issue 1.

Michelle Blake is the author of three novels—The Tentmaker, Earth Has No Sorrow and The Book of Light (Putnam Penguin). In addition, she’s published poetry and essays in Tin House, The New York Times, Ploughshares, Southern Review, Solstice Literary Magazine, Mid-American Review, MORE Magazine, Mezzo Cammin and others. Her chapbook of poems, Into the Wide and Startling World, was awarded publication in the New Women’s Voices competition in 2012 (Finishing Line Press). In 2014, her collaborative project with photo-montage artist Fran Forman, Escape Artist, was published by Schiffer. Her essay “A Fable for Our Times” won the Solstice Nonfiction Award for 2015.

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