Just when I think I know something,
I find out we don’t. Not by a long-shot.
Every concept I thought I knew is wrong;
every word ever constructed contains the injury
of possible wrongness; every reality covers
another reality like lily pads hide fish.
I try to find the broken beauty inside us,
On a paleontologist site,
I dig for dinosaurs with a young woman
through centuries of changeable earth.
Such a well-settled belief about dinosaur names,
when bones did not fit. The word Brontosaurs
was replaced by Apatosaurs. Such an unsettling
discovery, re-mapping the exhibits. It changed
the beauty of names and identities.
I carefully extract a bone bigger than love,
and release a gasp of recognition, soft and sensuous,
as I dust the bones of pterodactyl, webbed leather
still attached by hinge. Its name glides into my mind.
The inability to run or fly killed off the dinosaurs.
Bones tell of impact, quickness of death,
the moment skies darkened. Did dinosaurs know love?
The naming and re-naming of dinosaurs, realizing errors,
constantly change even for these ancient bones. I tag
the intact bones. my hands touch accidently the woman
with the same intimacy of naming and brushing dirt,
unable to dodge the potential collision with love or fear
or something unable to identify. The lack of escape
destroyed the dinosaurs. Every moment shifts into the next.
I can’t carbon date love. The lack of understanding
probably killed dinosaurs. How can I chisel love?
I hear the woman’s breath both far and nearing.
We have borrowed time.
Any moment, a meteor we can’t escape might wipe us out,
yet I am so soft-spoken, I can’t ask her out.
The breakable beauty eludes me.
I clump around like a sauropod dinosaur. Words don’t
glide for me. I am helpless at naming and categorizing feelings.
We hardly speak, classifying bones, processing information,
moments hurtling towards us bringing space debris.
Did dinosaurs stay together as couples? I hide my reactions,
all those tics that give away affection and uncertainty in asking.
She asks me for a tool. I try not to stumble, give myself away.
I blend in my environment, not stick out my neck like the apatosaurs.
The bones only tell me which part might connect,
and I may be wrong. But holding a whole specimen is proof.
Not holding her hand is a different proof. Watching her exposing
alternative bone is another, the gasp gliding out of her.
My heart only knows what words to keep inside.
It is the surprise of dinosaurs when dying during a nuclear winter.
It is dinosaurs vanishing and leaving fragments to locate.
All beauty can be shattered if love is not expressed.