“The First Humans”

They must be sitting or maybe squatting by the meager fire, primitive smoke lifting into air, mingling with the fog that surrounds the muddy river. It is hard to say at this distance if they are cooking something or simply reaching their hands into the warmth, hard to say how old they are, if they are male or female, or even the precise number. The sky looms ancient above them, low-slung and gray with the brooding of first light, and the slow gesture of the current seems somehow sentient, moving out in its eternal passage. Then the mattress sinks when I step away from the window and sit beside where you are sleeping, your naked shoulders exposed above the sheet, and I see your eyes come open, your lips part, and what makes their way into the air are the first words.

Doug Ramspeck

About Doug Ramspeck

Doug Ramspeck is the author of six poetry collections and one collection of short stories. His most recent book, Black Flowers, is forthcoming by LSU Press. Individual poems and stories have appeared in journals that include The Kenyon Review, The Southern Review, Slate, and The Georgia Review. His short story collection, The Owl That Carries Us Away, is published by BkMk Press (University of Missouri-Kansas City). He teaches at The Ohio State University at Lima.




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