I. Events beneath the ground
It betrays events deep beneath
the ground, said the geologist.
This rift in Ethiopia, from afar
but a rip in a pair of old khaki
stonewash pants, has unzipped
a liquid core of magma and a
slowly seeping sea. In about a
million years, he added, it will
form a new ocean; the Horn of
of Africa will separate. Surely,
also the Red Sea will part again.
II. Twice lost ancient infants
Ninety-seven infant bones at
forty weeks of gestation, buried
for two thousand years, were dug
a hundred years ago to stay lost
until recently, in a county museum
cupboard of old Buckinghamshire.
Perhaps it was a brothel, said
the skeletal biologist, that sowed
this grave with unwanted newborns.
After a careful study for knife
marks and such clues of injury
that bones might remember, he
will delve into the DNA of these
twice lost ancient infants of Rome.
III. Those obliged with flesh
Skeletal infants in a fresh
new amniotic ocean skim to the
surface one anxious morning.
Unwanted, unburdened, light like
ocean froth, they come riding
seismic upheavals of gradually
rupturing time. The next waking
hour, in a swimming pool, trying
a new daily ritual of reassurance,
I see those obliged with flesh might
yet unlearn the imperative to drown.
Since the Red Sea will not part in
time for most of us, we fly like
urgent fish saved for indoor neon.