Mudlark No. 41 (2010)

First Comer

Here is a remnant of the wilderness
west of Cumberland Gap.
Here are progeny of progeny
of river birch, nesting osprey,
moss trailing from a shattered bluff.
Here are ice blue berries and scorpions.
Here is the femur of a carnivore,
outwalker for the new world.
This is the primrose that blooms for one night.
And here is a coccyx.
Be regardful of these bones
who squatted still as a deer in just this light,
in just this human silence,
inspecting a trail of savages,
a presence,
not quite an inhabitant,
not quite a citizen,
some kind of an emigrant.
Who was bearded, surely.
And resembled his mother.
Genes coded for syllogism,
A hawk flashes through the sycamores.
These are the levers and hinges of his right hand,
who might have turned back.
Here is his broken skull,
who woke in the kinless, the fatal night
to a distance in which someone had been laughing,
See how the legendry has leeched away?
His axioms?
The rhythms of his glands?
His pith?
Who followed the shadows of the clouds
in such an ardor of solitude.
In such an intent
to build a man’s fire where he would.

Oliver Rice | Mudlark No. 41 (2010)
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