Mulka's cave

By Geoffrey Dobbs

A once sacred place

stripped, exposed

and violated.

Gaping nakedly.

We hesitate, peering in -

embarrassed, maybe by such simplicity

seeing prints of hands – and nothing more.

What brought them to this place?

Who were the last man and child,

to fill their mouths with thick, sour ochre

and lifting up their hands

spray their presence on this rock?

Lost, the memory, and the meaning.

Lost, the joy of man and child, hand in hand,

flesh and bones breathing in the sun,

blood beating through ancient veins

as they breathed at one the with sheltering trees

and winds’ sigh.

Dingoes stripped and scattered their bones

trees drank their sap,

ants devoured their last fragments

and no trace left but the handprints,

only the handprints.

And a vacancy – an eternal absence,

a gap in nature.

Turning our backs, we return along the metal ramp,

past the felled trees and the toilet block,

to the souvenir shop, Made in China,

and the bistro, offering Mediterranean Cuisine.

in a paragraph.

(Image by Don Pinnock on Unsplash)