The Philosopher Savant Contemplates an Exposed Fossil Bed Near Iowa City
by Rustin Larson

Afternoon in the spillway, walking. In an empty
lot nearby, six boys play. Over ocean, upon stone,
feeling the texture of a shell, coral, fish bone,
fin. One boy punts it. For that moment the ball floats
in endless blue. The seas became shallow, dried
layer upon layer, ocean sediment, millions
of years, calcified. I can't believe how light
my father is. 88 pounds. We’ve seen the imprint of a leaf
in mud, a shoe print, a hand. I slide my hands under
his arms, lift him out. We’ve seen bones in a forest
slowly covered by leaf rot, and then soil. I lift him
to my chest, guide him awkwardly, the bag
of his catheter hooked in my pocket. I help him
into the wheelchair, pulled into pressure
and heat and compacting stone.

Illya's Honey Literary Journal

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