cave lady


Self-Portrait as Cave Lady
Amy Gerstler
Nameless volcanos vomit rock.

Can’t keep cave clean. Swarms

of striped flies invade at dusk, bats

catch too few. Tender feeling for

baby mammoth as we eat him.

Sudden juice-leak from my eyes.

I pet baby mammoth’s roasted

hide, unfold hairy ear-flap still

stuck to skull and whisper into it.

Later, take chips of burnt sticks,

spit, plus mammoth fat, mix

in cup of hand and use paste I

make to sketch young mammoth

on shadow wall. Make black hand-

prints too. Rub mammoth fat

on my old, cracked feet. Rub some

on scars. Gather fresh dry leaves

for sleep. Give baby chunk of tusk

to suck so he’ll shut up. His yowls

rile wolves, who pace and whine

just beyond the all-night fires.

Photo by Bruno van der Kraan on Unsplash