Friday, May 17, 2013

Allosaurus

The Brontosaur’s neck is spiderwebbed with red
and strung with a piercing necklace
of Allosaurus incisors. Talons slash and rip
crimson gashes in the upholstery of its hide.  
The behemoth bellows, lashes its tail.
Head whips dizzy eyewhites flash
in agony. All the illustrations
from this most treasured of library books
titled simply DINOSAURS are tattooed
on the inside of my skull. I can still flip
to where a saber-toothed something
claws at the rug of a woolly something else,
both beasts stuck and sinking
into the black gunk of history.
Thirty years later and there they are,
all of them, for real, as if projected
from the back of my brain onto
the top floor of the Natural History Museum
then stripped of flesh: The Archaeopteryx,
flapping and flailing like a dancing kachina doll.
The  Sherman tank Ankylosaur.
The ridiculous duckbills. The splayed deck of cards
teetering atop the Stegosaurus’s spine.
All of them solid, no longer paper-flat.
Pterodactyls strung from the ceiling
by their knuckles. Gargantuan amphibians,
Mordex and Eryops and Diadectes,
and yes, the Brontosaur, though they don't
call them that anymore, it's Apatasaurus now
but still just as impressive, even reduced to a scaffold
of steel-reinforced bones, still ridden
by its carnivorous tormentor.
Strange that it took me so long to get here.
That little boy who flipped the pages
is long gone, his skeleton preserved
within the thunder lizard’s ribcage,
clutching the bony bars,
happily imprisoned in the Jurassic,
preferring its monsters to the less
spectacular ones awaiting him outside.

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