About Evolution: “The young neanderthal looks like the woman we avoid at the grocery store.”

Early Hominids
by Faith Shearin

In one museum scene they are bent over fire
and in another they hold their first stone tools
while the ice age approaches. They have been
painting mastodons and mammoths
in their caves, art already in their animal grasp,
and they have been leaving footprints
in volcanic ash, shedding their skeletons
in deserts. They have begun the journey
from trees to suburbs, have been dressing
themselves in early hats and considering
an alphabet. The young neanderthal looks like
a boy who bit you on the playground
and the woman beside him might be the woman
we avoid at the grocery store. This is evolution:
hair loss, math, a desire for furniture. Already
they worry about predators and weather; already
they have designs for a more comfortable bed.

—A poem by Faith Shearin from Telling the Bees, Stephen F. Austin State University Press © 2015. First posted by The Writer’s Almanac.

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