ELEGY FOR THE PLESIOSAUR
ON THE ADVENT OF ITS PREDICTED RETURN
We find your bones all the time and try not to be sad.
We’re not even sure how late we were
to your funeral or whether we sent flowers
or told great stories of how you lived
on your own terms and without regret
and that for you the most important thing
was family. And awesome displays of predation.
Carbon dating can’t say whether
the toasts we raised to you and your epoch
would have burned your alien face
with embarrassment for all the wildness of your youth
or swallowed you up in laughter,
as you might have tried to swallow us
on another day in the long life of ancient hunger.
And we hope the words we said
to all the mates you’d won with rituals
impossible for mammals to even comprehend
helped to assuage the thing that was grief
that was in them and would never fade,
they swore by the dangerous volume of their tears
and the veils of black weed
they wore in the fathoms of bereavement.
To your children looking on you
who said to themselves that you only slept
and would wake when all this was over
and everyone had left who swore
to honor your last hunt with all theirs to come,
we can only theorize how much they felt
of our terrified stabs at consolation
and whether they would have
let us keep our arms. The fossil record
so far contains no evidence
we attended the deposition of your body
as it was lowered into the murk
while many beasts sadly lowed in the depths
or whether the tears finally came
when upwards we desperately kicked
to the air of the world that was soon to be our own.