Ralph Eugene Meatyard, 1925 – 1972 
Untitled, 1966, Gelatin silver print 
© The Estate of Ralph Eugene Meatyard,
courtesy Fraenkel Gallery

Revolution | Leigh Glanzman

When human beings were just hunger
and hind legs, without words or weapons,

we feasted; scraped open their skulls
for bowls and chalices; made music

of their moans. In the moon-dark, our star-eyes
helped us hunt them through the endless forests.

Not cruelty, or malice: in those days, humans
were scavengers, little more than brainless beasts,

and we were warriors.
                                         But that was long ago,

as many years as stars in the sky. We are older
even than that, so old we remember the void before

the universe expanded, before the planets coalesced
and we picked among the rocks and radiation

to piece together our bodies: teeth and tails
and hearts of stolen stars. When every life

shivered in fear of us;
                                         time long lost. We filled

our bellies to the brim, grew lethargic and drowsed
between the centuries.

                                        Now we have awoken.
Humans crawl through our forests like fire:

devouring, delighted. They outnumber us
by thousands; steel blades, tongues of silver:

they have straightened their spines. The feel
of fear rooting in their bones but a story for the dark.

These are not creatures cowering in caves
with sharpened rocks in their hands, but clever things

safe in their iron-and-asphalt forests, fortresses
piercing toward the sky.

                                            We are not their gods anymore.

We are just the nightmares of children,
peering between the moss-blackened branches,

racing shadow to shadow.