Self Portrait as Cavelady by 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.
from B O D Y