Ode to Triceratops

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,
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.

by Theresa Jarosz Alberti

Excerpt from book:  (After) Confession


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