The Ancient Stories

Published in Schuylkill Valley Journal  (Spring 2013)

I want to hear the ancient stories.
No, not Homer.
He was a pretty modern guy—
Jealousy, pride, conquest, lineage,

I mean the stories howled around fires
when the handprints were fresh on the cave walls,
and humans shared the earth with woolly mammoths
and barely knew the connection between sex and life.

The stories humans told
at that split second in time
when we had the words
to tell our animal stories.

Before words erased our howls.
Before the word hate, or love.
Before the word loss.
Before the word blame.
Before the past subjunctive, or hypothetically speaking,
as it were.

When the whole of our vocabulary
the whole of our world was
hungry, hunt, eat, cold, warmth, fire, sleep, fuck, play, danger, run,
protect the young, oh yes from the very beginning protect the young.
Those stories.

Stories that I could hear above the complicated noise of you.
Deciphered from the ancient scrolls of my DNA.