Green Hills Literary Lantern

 

 

No Lizards We

 

People get so much wrong about dinosaurs.

First we were cold blooded, then we weren’t.

That was when we were reptiles,

before we grew feathers and flew.

Any skin colors you assume are speculation, no more factual than the layers of suffering and redemption Dante assigned the dead in Hell and Purgatory.

What can the size of a brain tell you?

By that measure, you’d expect whales

to know to avoid whalers.

Maybe Mother Nature isn’t a size queen—

not everyone is.

In illustrations, I’m always shown

mid-belly in the swamp,

plant slime dripping from a slow chew,

my fire-hose neck languid as a lariat’s loop.

Instead, I sought water deep enough to hide in, cover my bumps.

My long neck made a periscope,

lookout for the big jaws,

whose weak eyes and short arms

made slack water black glass,

reflecting frustration.

We were smart enough to survive

our enemies millions of years,

but not the stars.

Beware of falling rock,

you make mountain road signs say,

but you should post the skies,

scream no trespassing to the cosmos,

use those big brains to look ahead far enough to see the extinction that’s coming your way, instead of disturbing and misinterpreting our poor fossilized remains.

 

 

 

 

Until he was twenty-four, David Thornbrugh thought Emperor Penguins averaged six foot tall, thus enabling these royal birds to look human intruders in the eye. The resulting shame and embarrassment he felt at the mockery of his peers drove him into the arms of poetry, where he has felt only mildly aggrieved ever since. He thinks of himself as following in the tradition of Archie the Cockroach, whose best work resulted from throwing himself at the keys of a resistant machine, one bruise at a time.