Chauvet Cave: Shadorma

Vernita Hall

 

If God is the skull of a bear
on a rockpile altar
then you can be Buddha
in half a million years

for evolution charts in mortality
the path of least resilience
for the slow learner.
Ask the auroch (an erstwhile steer),

the mammoth, the woolly rhino,
ask the cave bear Godhead
the secret of longevity.
Their laughing scattered bones here

echoing to dust will whisper:
Brevity

 

 

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Vernita Hall is the author of Where William Walked: Poems About Philadelphia and Its People of Color, winner of the Willow Books Grand Prize and of the Robert Creeley Prize from Marsh Hawk Press; and The Hitchhiking Robot Learns About Philadelphians, winner of the Moonstone Press Chapbook Contest. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in numerous anthologies and journals, including American Poetry Review, African American Review, Atlanta Review, Barrow Street, Mezzo Cammin, Solstice, and The Cortland Review. With fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center and Ucross, Hall holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Rosemont College and serves on the poetry review board of Philadelphia Stories.