O big-toothed shark, giant
python & elephant sloth, I’m not the type
to kneel at the altar, but ribs, jaws,
& teeth of the Pliocene Epoch I cling
to your tough remnants.

What it must have been before gas
pump & bullet. Before light switch
& cockpit. Your swampy
church with its jumble of snails
& slugs. Your warm oceans

gurgling multitudes. Cousins
in the thick trees with their long
red-brown arms & lemon-sized
brains. O gibbon, swinging branch
to branch. O orangutan, roving

the floor of the forest. I bow
to you as you nest high
in the trees, as you tramp
out a path for me, an arrogant
humanoid, waiting with weapons.