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Radioactive Boars Are Roaming Around Germany
                                    —Smithsonian Magazine

Plowing field with snout, they sniff out truffle,
root, leave poisonous dark bristles

on twigs. Tusks, over generations,
shorten for lack of need.

No arrows threaten ribs, no scent
of hunters chasing sows to bleed

them from their throats.
Litters are born, each small fetus

misshapen before birth,
ill formed bones, or lacking hoof.

Our disaster—their savior from blade,
our uranium—allowing sounder’s  growth.


Evolution Psalms

Praise the slow crack of bone
            sprouting feathers, marrow
            lightening in preparation for sky.

Praise the fish’s desire to slip
            from salt water to sand,
            the  invertebrate’s flexion, spine.


When finned things grew foot,
when gill gave to lung—

they’d had enough of brine,
wanted only ground, dirt.

When foot begot feather, and feather begot fur,

and when those covered in fur grew
fingers, opposable thumbs,

they saw their reflections in lakes, ponds.

Below swam the scaled and tailed,
who they lifted, let swirl against palms—

silver mouths caressing their fingers,
hands remembering original mothers.


Let the righteous rejoice in the hand, once aquatic fin
            which,  like a bud blossomed
            by cell’s heat, mutation.


Wind chiseled
the face of homo erectus.

The frontal brow receded
from its caress.

Cerebellum thickened,
expanded, thought ignites.

Synapses unstoppable
flame, holy light.


Teeth have forgotten foliage,
devour inland hooved flesh,

They are weary of crustaceans.
Their equilibriums shun

the ocean’s hymn and ebb. 
Skies, not seas, keep their departed,

now gods must have talons or two legs.


Lo, the neck of the animal
            grew speckled, reaching
for the highest leaf.
            Hunger contorted muscle,
desire for chlorophyll’s sweet
            elongating bone, nerve sheath.


Gracious is the dome shell
            over soft limbs of silent reptiles
            with no need for song. 
Grief and darkness delivered outward bone
            as swaddle and refuge
            from enemies’ incisors, wrongs.


Let light illumine the atavism,
            the whale’s genetic code for growing legs,
            the foul’s one missing protein
            for erupting teeth.
Let light illumine the human tail
            upon embryo swirling at seven weeks.


Praise the mammal with wings, the reptile
            that gives live birth to her young.
Praise the puzzle of fossil, shift of bone,
            mandible stretch and recession,
            three toes turned hooves,
            our  single-cell origin
            before  oxygen’s collision.
Trust in the flesh’s alteration, life-force’s urn,
             our salvation.


So quietly, beauty leaves,

sneaks off with dried up teats
from constant suckle. It hides like the flesh

of ancient silent turtles making
dark homes in their dome shells.

Why does it go?  It wants to be beckoned,
hear me sing my frantic sparrow’s serenade.

Beauty, beauty, forgive each mistake we’ve made.  


Tayve Neese’s work has appeared in literary journals around the country including The Comstock Review, Fourteen HillsMiPOesias, and The Paris Review (online). She is the co-executive editor of Trio House Press, an independent, non-profit press publishing distinct and innovative voices of emerging and established American poets.  Her book Blood to Fruit is published by David Robert Books. Neese has taught poetry as an adjunct at the University of North Florida. She serves on the Advisory Board for the Concord Poetry Center in Concord, Massachusetts, and currently resides in Colorado.