The Anthropocene
by Sonny Regelman

In the Hall of Human Origins
deep within the cool, hushed gallery,
it’s taken me two hours
to wend through display cases
and interactive exhibits
illustrating the human family tree
and fossil record from
Ardipithecus to Homo sapiens
and detailing the DNA that separates
me from Neaderthal
and the predators that threatened
my ancestors.

I contemplate the excavation techniques
and the sagittal crests,
the tools for chopping and scraping,
and the tireless pursuits of the Leakeys.

I stand face to face with an artist’s striking interpretation
of Homo heidelbergensis and Homo erectus
and spend nearly another hour with the
wall of human skulls
demonstrating evolution’s excruciatingly steady march.

I pause for a moment to visit with the bronze
statue of Lucy,
three feet tall and three million years old,
when a stocky, blonde teenager
twice her stature
calls out to his mother,
waving his cell-phone overhead,
“Hey, take a picture of me with this monkey!”

A final branch on the tree.
I silently apologize to Lucy.

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