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Poetry

Dinosaur Exhibits for Confused 7-Year-Olds

18 April 2018

I can tell you everything about natural history

Museums – the two kinds of dinosaur hips:

One, meat-eating, overly reptilian, movements assured

Of sudden bursts of will, taxonomies of torn throats;

The second, herbivorous and constantly

Misconstrued by their gangling unearthers

Bilingual in their number of legs,

Defensive thumb-spikes fixed to

Their snouts like the first woodcuts of rhinoceros

When they were still just imaginary,

Pelvis already bird-like, gizzards

Hoarding pebbles serving their teeth,

Enzymes and digestion, unsuited as

They were to anything unmonstrous. Victorian

Proto-palaeontologists hypothesised they

Were dragons from before Noah’s flood, as if

They’d be their own classificatory system for

Geological epochs, brontosaurus

Necks the best shorthand for deep time and

The teeth that constitute a planet’s birthday.


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