Awareness comes on like an atmosphere.
A delicate mixture of humours and gas.
It is the first inhalation beneath a canopy of trees.
It is having the idea of rain apart from clouds.
It is hearing the clapping hands rhythm of water on stone.

Women fill in silhouettes on the cave wall with colors from the earth.
Staining the rock with ocher spit and fingers
blackened by wet ash from tapers gone cold.

A young boy gestures to a young girl.
She does not understand.
He begins to make sounds as he marks a rock with ash.
The young girl touches his lips, puts her mark on the rock.

An old woman, the oldest in the cave,
takes their hands, leads them into the night.
The boy and girl will tend the fire and mark the rocks
to keep the beasts at bay.