The Dawn of Man

The stick.

How long did it lie on the ground
before some curious, hairy human
picked it up, reached into the tree
with an astonishing new arm,
straight and long with an accurate aim?

The fruit fell down.

How long before it caught on?
Until everyone else saw the sense in it,
the way it made life a little easier,
a little more fun?

Was it unintentional,
that first violent contact?
The stick coming down accidentally
on the head of a brother,
the fruit rolling away
from the splatter of blood.

Such an event must have ignited
some pre-fire temper
that swelled into an agonizing grunt,
and though there were no words yet
for apologies,
it was clear what kind of pain was possible
with this new tool.

Imagine, now, the others,
open mouthed,
slowly backing away
from the one who made the accidental blow.
And when his reason
told him to show them the culprit,
he raised his stick above his head.

When they shrank to the ground
and covered their heads,
he felt the rush of control
and was the first to realize,
before language could explain it,
that creating fear was a kind of power
which would never be improved.


DeMaris Gaunt

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