My worst closed until further notice experience was Altamira

from Santander where we waited three days to get in the country

after militant Basques assassinated a general through blistering

heat on empty roads in one end of Madrid and out the other

all the way to Seville to create the felt covered wine red stage

for the acquisition of Sandeman Port all the while Altamira

was on my mind first I got Montezuma’s Revenge then my

partner who laid low in a hotel back in Santander while I

took the 20 foot scenery lorry winding through the countryside

to the site where years before a little girl had stumbled upon

the entrance to the cave Bison Papa! she shouted I so wanted

to see what she saw but a dark green steel door said otherwise

leaving me to seek out the tourist shop and buy books and cards

about the cave and its paintings poor compensation for being

denied entrance hungry for something to make up for the injustice

I took a branch of eucalyptus from the cave’s locale eucalyptus

that came alive with the scent of compassion in the lorry

and stayed with me till its oils finally dried out an ocean

and a continent later the depths of the cave would have to wait

although my imagination stayed on heedless on the ferry home

I looked out at the cold mean waters of the Bay of Biscay

but something in me had woken up and lingered there

in northern Spain I don’t know why I felt so pulled

to that place to the memory of painting images of animals

underground how one bison’s bulk emerged from the surface

of the ceiling! I saw in photographs how formations

suggested shapes of creatures to the artists’ minds

we can say they were seers bringing their light

to the subterranean passageways that gave up

their walls and canopies in ways that long

preceded Plato’s Allegory I can’t say “this

is what we do” I can only say “this is what

a few of us do” and we would do well

to listen and learn for we are too bound up

in the snares of those who hunt and trap

our desires only to sell our own souls

on the marketplace I like to think I was

good with the closed door that I understood

enough is enough that my breath alone

would decay further the work once hidden

for thousands of years not everything should be

plain understood so I went home and now

they’re grown the seeds of my imagination

come to life and my wife who waited

well perhaps she’s there what’s a lifetime

pass when you’ve passed from this life?

Nothing’s closed to her now while my imagination

is still out there hungry to be allowed in

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