The Dinosaur Exhibit

Philip Cawkwell

I watched the seconds tick,
Fractions of a lifetime,
Inched along while you stared
Off into space.

The gulf between us was mammoth.
And maybe I thought that we were
In a museum,
And that it was an animal
I gazed on.

When it was my turn to touch you,
I used a gloved hand.

I soon learned
That you no longer had teeth to bite.
So I poked and prodded at you,
My exhibit,
And strained to find signs of life.

The glass that separated us
Was only in my mind.
I had no map or placard
But instead a lively tour guide
Showing me what to see and where to look.

As I dug my hands into your soft belly
You let out a low groan
That reminded me you were
Not a pile of dusty bones
Elegantly arranged for my
Academic pleasure.
You were the roaring beast itself;
Perhaps no longer dominating the plains,
You still had the pride of the creature
Who knows what he once was.

I closed the curtain to shield you from
Unnecessary prying eyes
And quietly slipped off my latex gloves.
Your hand was warm as it closed around mine
Reminding me that the dinosaurs
Could still be saved.