Brett Foster

Upon News of the Important Fossil


Those human features on the apelike creature
may be a watershed in the long debate.
The breathless fossil bones, found in a cave
in South Africa, may be the best we have.
Australopithecenes, with mixed and matched
traits seen through the mists of an early watch.
It tells nothing of some grand, showy intent,
but I like to imagine for a moment:
its fleshly circuitry, its behavior,
a made thing fashioning tools, a faber.
Those rhapsodically primitive little tools
of sharp stone and adapted twig, of ruling
dilemma and method’s first intimation.
It may have traveled close to upright, straight
in the cool of the day, but could not yet tear
itself from trees, not ready for firmer earth
always. It says something, to imagine all
remaining ahead, dizzy festival
of ozones, phonemes, green zones, iPhones,
charred craters of conscience, newer loneliness.
And better— the limbs from which it dangled
still visible yet, if at obliquest angle.

Brett Foster is the author of two poetry collections, The Garbage Eater (2011) and Fall Run Road (2012). A new collection, Extravagant Rescues, is forthcoming. His writing appears in Boston Review, IMAGE, Kenyon Review, Southwest Review, and Yale Review, and he teaches at Wheaton College.