Olduvai Gorge Thorn Tree
by Sarah Lindsay
He kept dreaming of a tree, dreaming
of a tree, dreaming of a tree
and its sound like a hush,
and it seemed he could open
his mouth when he woke and make the others
know something they didn’t already know,
his tree. But he woke and he couldn’t.
He kept thinking of a tree. He made a tree
of his arms and called to the others,
but all he could say, all they could say,
was tree, not that one, no, not here,
tree. They were hungry, shrugged and went on.
Later a leopard dragged him some distance
and left him on the remains of his back,
his plucked face tilted up, and a seed
fell on the stub of his tongue
in his open mouth. Took root,
sent a finger between his teeth
that parted his jaws with its gradual thickness
and lifted its arms full of leaves that fed
on what was in his braincase
and mixed with the sky, and made
a sound in the wind that was
almost what he wanted.
Mount Clutter © 2002 by Sarah Lindsay, reprinted with the permission of the publisher, Grove/Atlantic, Inc.