Fossil Creek


by Cindy Droege

A tunnel of cottonwood leaves
and arching limbs open into Fossil
Creek where three feet down an ocean
shelf embeds prehistoric life.
A mosaic of shale, limestone, and mud
encase Ammonites and dinosaur bones
in a tomb. To dig, an obsession: finding
fossils where hoofed beasts and coyotes
pass revealing a montage of creatures along
the shallow shores of mortared cretaceous seas.
Drought and summer dry the bed, chipping
away reveals the grave of motion like the wall
clouds of Texas that can be seen twenty miles
away. I think of Teilhard beneath the desert sun,
cotton shirt clinging to the sweat on his back
and sand caked into fine lines around his eyes—
“However far back we look into the past”, he said,
“we see the waves of the multitude breaking into foam”.
I roll the stone from the tomb, crack the earth wide
and dip into the mist of an ancient sea.

-refers from the word digging in Carl Eugene’s poem Down to the Rind

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