Tavye Neese




Evolution Psalms

Praise the slow crack of bone
	sprouting feathers, marrow
	lightening in preparation for sky.

Praise the fish's desire to slip 
	from salt water to sand,
	the invertebrate's flexion, spine.

		*

When finned things grew foot,
when gill gave to lung—

they’d had enough of brine,
wanted only ground, dirt.

When foot begot feather, and feather begot fur,

and when those covered in fur grew 
fingers, opposable thumbs,

they saw their reflections in lakes, ponds.

Below swam the scaled and tailed,
who they lifted, let swirl against palms—

silver mouths caressing their fingers, 
hands remembering original mothers.

		*

Let the righteous rejoice in the hand, once aquatic fin
	which,  like a bud blossomed 
	by cell's heat, mutation.


		*

Wind chiseled
the face of homo erectus.

The frontal brow receded
from its caress.

Cerebellum thickened,
expanded, thought ignites.

Synapses unstoppable
flame, holy light.

		*

Teeth have forgotten foliage,
devour inland hooved flesh,

They are weary of crustaceans.
Their equilibriums shun 

the ocean’s hymn and ebb.  
Skies, not seas, keep their departed, 

now gods must have talons or two legs.

		*

Lo, the neck of the animal
	grew speckled, reaching
for the highest leaf.
	Hunger contorted muscle,
desire for chlorophyll's sweet
	elongating bone, nerve sheath.

		*

Gracious is the dome shell
	over soft limbs of silent reptiles
	with no need for song.  

Grief and darkness delivered outward bone 
	as swaddle and refuge 
	from enemies' incisors, wrongs.

		*

Let light illumine the atavism,
	the whale's genetic code for growing legs,
	the foul's one missing protein
	for erupting teeth.
Let light illumine the human tail
	upon embryo swirling at seven weeks.

		*

Praise the mammal with wings, the reptile
	that gives live birth to her young.
Praise the puzzle of fossil, shift of bone,
	mandible stretch and recession,
	three toes turned hooves, 
	 our  single-cell origin 
	before  oxygen's collision.
Trust in the flesh's alteration, life-force's urn,
 	 our salvation.


Originally published in diode, v8n9.