Gracile Australopithecus: November 1974

Offered in atonement
these few small bones
meant nothing
but salvation: a kind
of anthropological grace
held in a trembling hand.

Mired in a bed of river dust
pillowed between rocks
and sheets of clay
ancestral arthropods led us on.

Before the fire
we danced and drank
and repeated the music
each rote word a triumph
in our mind
each note ingrained.

Under the brilliant carpet of heaven
deep in the musk of canvas
sweat and kerosene
we leaped with the flame
our shadows racing home
our footprints close behind.