The Caves of Altamira

We live in a house with glass birds
who say very little in the morning.
It’s not a kind of sorrow to be
all gesture and no song, bowed
to the sun and collecting dust
disturbed by the passing traffic.
We need the arch of crystal wings,
even while sparrows are on
the feeder and crows litter
our backyard trees; we need
the emblems of the world right
here on the safe side of the wall.

See the colored eggs on the table,
the plastic tree in the corner,
faces hung between window lights.
It’s a gathering of assorted symbols
more home than the roof overhead.
Even that story you told over a bottle
of wine, the words and the pantomime,
our puppet show casting shadows
across the varied face of Plato’s cave.
This is our need to reveal, to paint
in colors bold as those in Altamira
everything we’ve seen and heard,
to leave a sign for future generations
not only that we lived, but that we
strove for the perishable hearts
of the lucent forms as they burned.





Mark Christopherson is a writer working in Minneapolis, Minnesota. His work has appeared in Reed Magazine, Great Lakes Review, The Dewdrop, High Shelf Press, Passengers Journal, and in the anthology Awake in the World, v.3,, released by Riverfeet Press. He may be reached at

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