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Another Inevitable Romance at Olduvai Gorge

People are always talking about you here.
They picture you with lava under your nails
and send maps saying, THIS WAY OUT.

How do you tell them about the beautiful evening
soups you’re making and about this science
between you and the soups?

There’s pleasure enough in a banquet,
they say, Who wants any more?
At the gorge you can’t help wanting more.

You want more than ever to bury a skull in your lap
and speak to it sweetly: Here is an evening for gazing,
old man. Who was it that hammered your skull?

You give soup to the skull and watch it
come around. Nowhere but at the gorge
were there two, you and the skull you love,

so pure and full of soup. Still, they picture you
with mud on your face. They wonder if you could
describe the skull in an objective manner.

There is no sense adding up the years since,
at the gorge you have counted
only the serenest hours.


Copyright © 1978 M. B. McLatchey All rights reserved.
Accepted for publication in Science, 1985.

Appeared in Advantages of Believing, Finishing Line Press, 2015.

Published in Avatar Review, summer 2021.

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