Neanderthal - Poem by Leo Yankevich
He walks beneath the moon, so close, the furs
against his back seem inches from its cusp.
Spear in his hand, he waits in silence—
frost on his chin, tree bark against his ear—
dreaming of aurochs, boars and mammoths,
last week’s kill the muscle in his barrel chest,
flint still red with bison blood,
shaft reeking of skinned hides. And there it is.
He thrusts his spear into the flank and neck
of a stray woolly rhino. In the cold
he marks its final breaths, still warm,
rising from its nostrils toward the dawn.
He drags its freezing carcass home with fellow
hunters—to a fire-lit valley cave
where starving wives and children wait.
Behind them, bear skulls signify the gods.
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