by Barrett Mohrmann

Put fossils in the nursery, they say.
Those ancient stones and bones guide
the child from a kaleidoscopic time to now,
plucking out weeds to create fecund soil where
a drop of cosmic rain might land and disperse.
I struggle to see how the ridged back of a trilobite
or the staring eye socket of a stony fish
will soothe the child.

But can you blame them for trying?
I don’t envy that moment of stepping through the
webbing from metaphysical to physical, detaching the
umbilical cord, that chute of light and warmth
into the core.
By that logic, build me a coffin of petrified wood,
an oblong box glinting gray as it lowers into the earth.
By the time you have shuddered off your
webbing, your eyes opaque, your desires fixed,
I will fill your place in that warm pool that knows no


Barrett Mohrmann’s poetry either has appeared or is forthcoming in Common Threads, Wilderness House Literary Review, Umbrella Factory Magazine, and other journals. He studied English at the College of William & Mary where he was a finalist for the Glenwood A. Clark Fiction Prize. Barrett also worked for several years as a reporter with The News & Advance in Lynchburg, Va.

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