SOPHIE VAN WAARDENBERG
DISCOVERY IN LASCAUX BY FOUR TEENAGE BOYS, SEPTEMBER, 1940
I wonder if they pressed
their faces right up close
to find fingerprints.
I wonder if he, the youngest,
would go home, pull out fresh paper
and learn to spell new words:
paleolith, ochre, secret
if they found, for those days,
a distraction from the end of the world.
did they draw and redraw those beasts
until all the magic bled out?
this is what I wonder
while I run my fingernails down
sagittal sutures of plastic cavemen
in sixth period.
we are teenagers, too,
but we are not in Lascaux.
we are in biology class
where the tube lights keep on breaking
and every lesson there is a problem
with the sound system.
there was a time
when all this science
was forty cents’ worth to boys our age
who returned again, again.
Sophie van Waardenberg is in her second year of a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Auckland. She has been published in Takahē, Ika, Signals, and several New Zealand Poetry Society anthologies.