New Words for Triceratops
Extinction again, because the yard is filled
with echoes when our volcanoes go silent,
when our swamps are emptied
of saurian cows. There are still bottles
full of aspirin and whiskey for the porch,
brains full of blood and idiocy for that day
the riverbank crawls to the house and chases
scaly spirits from where they lodge
wet in the basement. Never mind
our bodies lying bird-hipped, snapped’
bangles of deciduous bone wrecked
for the geologic record. When the sparrows
remember jangling about the Cretaceous
in armor and horn, when eagles reveal
secret desires for airplanes, when the buffalo
bellow for asteroids leveled at the prairie,
our skeletons will tell us about the creatures
we were, about the beasts we hoped to become.
Somewhere there is a girl who twists limbs
from rag dolls, somewhere a boy
with a dinosaur head.
So many of the things we wish for are things
without breath. We don’t need to hear a word.
Just say our names as the world begins
its slow wink into night.
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