museum poem

I send my students to museums so they can write an ekphrastic poem. I ended up at the Natural History Museum, and saw an exhibit that inspired this poem 


Human Evolution


As bones continue to form

our ancestors, through millennia.

Abstract thought

a bone flute

sends chills.


Was it always in caves

that we felt


The first: the womb.

To be protected

from all sides.


The hand prints

leaf this cavern

a human tree.


The wall asks,

what is it to be human?

Love, hunger, longing,



The desire to not only continue

but to thrive.


Wooly headed, flat nosed,

how the air and sun shaped

our every feature, over generations.


I am not as advanced as I pretend.

I am full of envy, hunger,

the desire to sleep. Each

predominant in a different minute.


Leave evolution’s trail,

enter another habitat.

Shimmering blue and white.

Imagine the self, aquatic

as we all began.