A thousand years ago, a hunter stood
where you stand. He watches bison drift
like a dark cloud shadow across prairie
below. Could the herd be stampeded
onto the high prairie behind the cliff on
your left, and driven over the edge? I so,
injured animals could be butchered on
the spot, on the very edge of the camp.
The hunter and his companions had
pitched their shelters close by the cliff,
protected from the cutting wind. Water
seeped from the slope. A little digging
with a sharp stick had released a spring.
How do we know? Bits of pottery,
arrowheads, razor-edged quartz flakes
used for butchering - a rabbit jaw and
bird bone mixed among charcoal of long-
quenched campfires - and many bison
bones have eroded out of the gullies that surround you.