Light and Dark

Spiky-Haired Woman at Leang Jing, Sulawesi, Indonesia*

She holds dominion
from an ancient cave.
By flickering candlelight,
her red oxide profile emerges—
slender shoulders, sturdy head.
Partially hidden
by lichen and algae,
the timeworn markings ring
with intention.
Resolute woman,
her lips protrude,
her hair a headdress,
cascade of wiry strands.
She lassoes a small beast.

The artist captures      
the Woman, borrows her
image. He burns her
life into the present,
makes her glow holy,
brick-red neon.
Her voice indelible,
she sends strong messages—
Good hunting here.
Beware of rivals.
Animals die out.
Vicious volcano.
Drawings erode, yet
Spiky Haired Woman
lifts the veil
for the sculptor
to spirits beyond.  
He follows a
sacred tradition—
Making new marks,
he leaves his light.

*Poem first mounted at Montgomery College, Silver Spring, Maryland in the exhibition 
"The Urge to Mark" by Craig Kraft. 

One Touched Me on the Shoulder*

She landed softly and fluttered twice;
I sensed I should not turn my head.

After all, when you enter a butterfly garden,
shouldn’t you be shy as a geisha?

Keep your head turned left and down.
Float along the greenery,

carrying the white-winged one with opaque dots,
until you reach

an open pineapple where ants crawl.
There, a second bewinged beauty alights.

This one a marigold-orange,
framed with lace and black velvet fringe.

Will Cabbage White and Painted Lady
nod to each other as I pass?

I think not, because as I pivot to the right,
whiteness grazes my neck.

A fierce competitor, she lifts aloft.

*First published by vox poetica, Nov 2018,