Once when I was in the forest
a letter came. That summer I held trees
by the throat with one hand
and sawed with the other.
I was on a trail crew.
At night I lay beside a boy
who chewed the neck of his shirt
until it scalloped open.
We were cutting a path up the mountain,
another one back down.
The wilderness we were in
was empty except for us.
That year a man on a distant island
found a human skull. A child
he thought at first: so tiny.
But she was thirty, a mother,
and more and more of them
arose until a name was given.
Homo fluorensiensis, the small ones
still not in most history books.
Years before anyone
believed, the bones of the wrist
evolving into one kind of man
and another. The letter
my friend sent was a dozen pages long,
torn from a composition book.
We were sixteen that summer.
She had fallen in love
with her uncle and fucked him.
I read the good parts aloud
at dinner. The wilderness we were in
was so empty they released
the problem bears from Yosemite.
At night we could hear them
snuffling through our things.
Now I don’t believe
anyone ever used our path,
I think it was just something
for us to do. How lucky
to be alive now, the scientist said,
to know they lived among us.