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From Afar

Poetry & Prose | February 20, 2018

In Adda Da’ar

the sun extracts sweat

from a group of reddening archaeologists

who are unearthing ancestral bones in Ethiopia

the end of one day brings the

discovery of a fractured forearm and then a femur

The end of another—

scattered shards of a spine, ribs, and jaw

 

At first, they call it AL 288-1

Later they call it her

They celebrate by blasting Beatles songs

Then they deem her Lucy

and “all of a sudden,

she became a person”

 

Lucy,

lights like sky like a diamond

they call her our first, first mother

a primordial eve

Australopithecus afarensis

 

In Ethiopia

They call her Dinknesh

It means

 

…You are marvelous…

 

And they will never know because they

Turned your heritage into dust

Threw it into the air and

Made it too easy to wipe away

 

ripped your thick, black hair from your scalp

unrooted you

and then asked you,

from where you came

 

as if they didn’t scrub you bone white

call you her

drown the elelele with pop rock

 

and from there called it,

history.