As I try to interpret the evidence
of bones shrunk to a homelier scale,
I imagine their vast migrations.
Keeping in step with a pillar
of dust, they lumbered stoically
from one mirage to the next.
For how many more thousands
of years could hunger lead them on
across parched wilderness,
salt-scorched and scrawled
with thorny growth – a whisper
of water in the skirr of wings?
A sense of kinship their greatest
strength, each family group
was focused on who they were
and how to stick together, remembering
mornings that dampened briefly,
the nights when sun desisted.
There were generations
they had left behind – stripped
and whitened beneath rapacious
sky – while they plodded onwards
beyond the roar of tides
that cool but cannot slake you.
Slowly gradients altered
and the sea wiped their footprints
till they were corralled in a short-lived
paradise of sweet leaves, springs
and wholesome shade: their needs
unsustainable; their bulk a burden.