In the Deep Time

By: Alrisha Shea

When we wake, we stretch to
fill out our expectations of where
what should be & then we look in
the mirror for confirmation is this
me is this me is this & we know it’s

silly but we do it every morning. At
least everything here is honest about
their mistranslation; I don’t expect
something with mouths it doesn’t use
for mouths to call me the right name

or to sing from their diaphragm. See,
there I go, with the analogies. I wonder
if something without photoreceptors knows it could
look at the sun, but these aren’t the animals
we call animals or their cousins-twice-

removed; these phyla have proboscises
and carapaces and jagged lines all over.
When we’re little the first thing we fall
in love with is the past steam engines
dinosaurs space programs and then

we figure it’s closed off: the museum of
natural history puts up velvet ropes saying
no children allowed around their time
machines and we grow up and grow
out and discover if you want to be

PANGAEA you can be but we don’t call
ourselves those because we don’t love
them anymore. Every morning we wake
up and remember what we could’ve been

classified as. We’re not so vain as to
think these are the fossils of our ancestors,
but these are the fossils of our ancestors.