Jonathan Loeffler
Written on Rock

news over history over millennia.
ghostly scarlet figures.
prints of hands repeated
on the sheer walls, petroglyphs
pecked into the patina
beneath rock overhangs.

we are drawn to them. face-to-face
with bighorn sheep, antelope, and lizards
we are inches from three-toed footprints,
bear tracks, and centipede, the shaman, his headdress,
shields of warriors, old humans holding hands.
spirals and circles of power or population?
zigzags of rivers or lightning?
white dots carefully spaced to show
how long they stayed, how far is the water?

a large bear is chiseled
far above the road;
men on horseback aim arrows
at its belly, back, and nose.
Boys' names are scratched
nearby; bullet holes pierce
the bear's body, shattering rock.
so many passings have left a mark.
who, though, shoots at art?