#111 What If a Nice Dinosaur Lives Here by Bradley Earle Hoge

My older son’s hand fits in mine
like a moment of time,
his younger brother sleeping
on my shoulders, as I lead them
through the Great Room
of Carlsbad Caverns for the first
time. “Look at how the rock flows,
“I say, “as if a river left it here.”
“What if a dinosaur still lives here,”
my son replies . . . But my mind
has already wandered. As we walk
through this frozen world,
I can’t help but think the smooth
calcium carbonate walls look
like candy coating poured while hot
over a surprise inside, preserving
an unknown flavor until someone
bites through it.  If I could take
my sons through these walls
we would swim into the ancient
reef that guarded the shores
of the Permian ocean, we would taste
the brine now crystallized
into Guadeloupe Mountains, flee
from sharks with shovelnoses,
chase trilobites into the sand,
pick crinoids like flowers
from the reef . . . Until my son’s 
Daddy?  returns me to the present
“There’s nothing to be afraid of,
Sweetie, there aren’t any dinosaurs
in this cave.”  “I know, Daddy.  I know
they all died a long time ago,
but, what if a nice dinosaur
still lives here?”

*This poem first appeared in the anthology Singularities: Writing From the Center of Edge from Plain View Press in 2001.

Bradley Earle Hoge’s poetry appears in numerous journals and anthologies including Chronogram, Rattle, Tertulia, Stickman Review, Tonapah la, entelechy: mind and culture, and Tar Wolf Review. He is the author of four poetry chapbooks. Bradley lives in Spring, TX with his wife and three children.


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