Chauvet

shoulder heavy bison cascade of running horses
rhino horn repeats dance like a book of stills
made motion picture as pages flip
vulva coaled on pendulous rock these are the inner life
its demands on the human hand that made
the early mind find time for virtuosity hard won then as now
by quarry in a lightless place where bears had marked
rock walls while sharpening their claws so art found shelter there
repeating the animal’s movements but clawless and thinking
I am that and I am not that the animal
a self-willed power in the mind that contains
something the artist hungers for a self-willed world within
that disrupts where the mind thought it was going
something unsettling that moves the line so the inner can be seen

Alison Hawthorne Deming is a winner of the Walt Whitman Award, finalist for the PEN Center West Award, and a former Stegner Fellow. She is the author of seven books of poetry and essays, and her work has been published widely in journals and magazines including The Georgia ReviewEcotone, and OnEarth. Her most recent book is Zoologies: On Animals and the Human Spirit published by Milkweed Editions. She is the director of the Creative Writing Program at the University of Arizona and a board member of Orion Magazine.