written for Selam, the 3-million year old skeleton of a 3-year old humanid
Baby Selam, did your Mama mourn
and beat her breast when you'd gone missing?
Creched in a glove of crumbling sandstone,
could she know you'd become a blessing?
Hidden from tempests and violence,
hushed and serene for 3 million years;
now, evolutionary chaos,
intensity of choices, fresh fears.
Bundle of bones, great aunt of us all,
prehensile fingers, milk-teeth intact,
blend of human brain, primate tongue,
new matrilineal artifact.
Simian child, will you speak to us?
Flesh of the sun and flesh of the sky,
shake off your Ethiopian dust!
Tell us where we are going, and why.
Baby Selam, in your skeletal face
are etched the mysteries of our past.
Can you unearth our connectedness?
Can we inhabit true peace at last?
Author's Note: Selam is the name given to a recently discovered 3-million year old intact skeleton of a 3-year old female hominid in Ethiopia. She is a new development along the evolutionary chain. Selam means "peace" in the Ethiopian dialect where she was discovered.