Old rodeo man, they say Neanderthal fossils
tell stories of hurt similar to those
that modern cowboys wrestle from life.
And that those old boys carried a bible of scars
to graves older than Cain’s bloody guilt.

So, your punched in nose and those heal
knotted ribs, reminding you every winter
of God’s weather and your history of mistakes,
are just what excite Ms. Fossil Humper’s hope
that she’s found, at last, the perfect ice age diary.

One thing I envy though:
If Jesus scans us for our sins,
mine he’ll find written cold,
harsh in my flesh, indelible,
stains on a changeable, sloughable shell.

Yours, he’ll wince to see branded
(like character, heart and soul) deep
on incorrigible bone, a chronicle of cracks taken,
reading true long after knuckles
sift through the coffin
and marrow yields grit.

Posted in response to the Ragtag Community Daily Prompt respect. “Max” first appeared in the collection Dazed Part of Light, by Lee Robison.

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