Christina Misite: Loosely Translated

Deinotherium giganteum: enormous
terrible beast, elephantine

mammal whose nasal cavity
might have been the socket of a single, giant

eye. The ancient preoccupation
with largeness: identifying

what was great enough to build
with stone, to rope

arrangements of earth
that from hundreds of feet up

show us dendrites and quipu, impossibly
sharp lines and angles.

We still read bones
for the story: of protoceratops,

of a child’s broken ankle
at age seven. Not such a far leap

from stories of Cyclops
and griffins, priests lighting the way

through bone grottoes, a Greek farmer hiding
a femur in his drawer, holding

it to his cheek, to his own leg, this
smooth white stuff of monsters and heroes.



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