lean back, crane, gape.
15 mi, up up up
unaffected visages, strings of browned beads
swirling orange fabric
hewn in rock
before the sun rose on this time.
did those monks know, care, we’d come –
build catwalks and stairwells and handrails
windhowl through wire mesh –
for glimpses into dark caves, where
some painted faces waited.
you can see them hanging
robes dangling, swaying feet inside
carving an eyeball, a simper, a hand aloft
up this cliffside
what sort of faith is this.