La Baume Bonne

Musée de Préhistoire des Gorges Verdon

The good cave. Tucked up in the cliffs of Verdon,
Prehistory, where-we-come-from. That’s you
Shucking snails with a stick. That’s me learning
To hide under a hide, naked. The progressive

Abandonment of relative chronologies. The slow
Sedimentary drip of turquoise minerals, ancestry.
Thus each excavation phase is a reflection
Of an idea of an idea. We see it mocked-

Up in the Musée—on film and 3D—our heads
Gripped by black omegas that speak to us
Our language, the current last words on how
We imagine we imagine what it was like

Before cooking fires, stone-knapping, the Levallois
Technique. And after. All that absence in absence
in absence. The good cavity. We’ve been
Coming here as a family year after year after year.

Matt Rader is the author of Desecrations (McClelland and Stewart 2016). The author of three previous collections of poetry, and the book of stories, What I Want to Tell Goes Like This, his work has appeared in journals and magazines across North America, Europe, and Australia. He teaches Creative Writing in the Department of Creative Studies at the University of British Columbia Okanagan. He lives in Kelowna, BC.