Burgess: that onetime ocean home,
is now a scrapbook of layered stone;
fossils therein once entombed
grew too strange to even clone!
There’s a brachiopod just barely
lacking any symmetry; and
the arachnid very nearly
is too bizarre a mystery!
These freakish and outlandish
malformed miscreants were
fossilized ancient whimsies,
powerless to adapt or mate!
Whole genres found depleted
collapsed there, obsolete;
a species of rare cretins expired
with heads attached to feet!
Where legs abound too many, or
there’s far too large an eye, creatures
born one-armed and unbalanced
leave no copies to survive!
Fossilized and embedded now,
traced in oldest stone, these oddities
time has recorded are real
creatures that once roamed!
* of the Burgess Shale, a mountain in western Canada
first published in Poetry Atlas
also published in Illinois State Poetry Society
©2013 Bonnie Manion