by Elizabeth Trew
He kneels among fossils
with his small brush and careful trowel,
sifts animal bones from plants and pollens
lodged in layers of earth, finds
the skull of a dog-bear
the sabre tooth of a cat
the neckbone of a sivathere,
beasts who browsed the soft leaves
of rainforests and marshes
their remains riverborne to a primal sea.
He digs to measure the weight of our world,
measures the depth of heat and ice
to fathom the strangeness of mineral earth.
On his small plot I find tiny bones:
the skull of a vlei rat
leg bones of toads
the teeth of many mice.
He tells me to dig deep and look
for the shape and nature of things.