Before my birth, father was more than fossil;
pickled in tundra, he still had his undercoat
of grizzle, teeth, and a knee broken
and folded in
tighter than a jack knife.
When they found him as perfect
as the day the sinkhole swallowed him
they dreamed me up.
Am I extinct?
No. Called back,
claimed the minds that made me,
coaxing DNA from Father’s bones
and toying with Mother’s genome to invent a new sequence for me.
Poached from another eon
and implanted in her womb,
swaying in time with her elephant strides,
I grew from Mother’s coo and breakneck science.
My tusk-nubs scuffed her insides,
outscaling her womb too soon
and stretching her belly cruelly.
And when I arrived late
I knew that Mother,
who scraped her trunk against my hump
and raked her tongue through my wool,
was mapping my flesh
like ancestral land.
She tested the length of me,
making touch memory.
Entrusted with my soft spots
and whimpers, baby dents
and outdated ridges, she, with elephant-tact,
had no choice but to love me,
more grandaunt than offspring,
captor and taboo.
I kept below the soft flaps of her breasts
and, in the first hungers of infancy,
I drank in the millennial air—
choked on the seepage of benzene, mercury
and the musk of men,
before my mouth found her teat.
“Mammoth Resurrected” first appeared in Pittsburgh Poetry Review, Spring 2017.