Four percent of my imperatives
are Neanderthal. Oh traitor genes
that infiltrate my Homo Sapien,
crying, ‘Whack it with a club, just whack it.’

You can dress my naked genome up.
You can teach it art and poetry,
but it will pace the corners of the night
grunting, ‘Something else. There’s something else.’

Take my code to psychotherapy.
Just try. The dreams of fur and blood will not
recede with time. Nor will I learn to use
my words to kill. Evolve, my ragged tongue.

My eye teeth speak. The dead ones’ echoes call.
A shimmering light plays on the cavern wall.


This poem originally appeared in Hunger Mountain 19: The Body Issue.