Excerpt from (After) Confession
(triceratops at the St. Paul Science Museum)

You are so near
I could pet you,
my finger longing
to touch something
older than imagination.
Rain taps against the window-glass,
children buzz by museum
exhibits. I keep my ear cocked for
my own as I sit beside your
bones. It is only a small
shift, out of the mind-chatter,
to see the world fresh. To let
dinosaurs in.
70 million years ago
you were as alive as I
am now, creatures
on this Earth, in need
of warmth and oxygen.
You forraged for green
cycads in the Cretaceous
period. I pluck lettuce
from my 21st century garden.
Without water, we both die.
I roll around my tongue words
given to you: ceratopsian,
marginocephalian,
ornithischian. I could
sit comfortably in your rib
cage, maybe stand.
Your crowned head the largest
of any land animal. Ever. You
lumbered, plodded, thundered this Earth,
these gray-brown crinkled bones
now a testament, a shrine.
How could it be that Nature conjured
us from the same number, my
200 bones waving a hand
of recognition to yours. You are
Sister, Monster, Mother, Beast,
a history-science lesson so
abstract, so real that I could
touch you
and feel
70 million years collapse
as we meet, skin to bone,
human to dinosaur.


Now also published in the 12th edition of the St. Paul Almanac, 2019.