When We Were Neanderthals

by Chrys Tobey

Featured Art: The Visit – Couple and Newcomer by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner 


I hunted deer for you. I scratched your back with stone tools

and we swaddled each other in fur from sabre-tooth cats


and laughed as we said, burp me. We’d say things like, You know what

they say about a large cranium. I’d chase a woolly mammoth


just because you thought it was sexy. We’d snort chamomile

and talk about how after we’re dead others will ponder our


big toes and our inability to ice-skate. When we were Neanderthals,

you’d make me necklaces of shell, and because this was a few years


before the Pill, we had a kid, but because this was also a few years

before the Catholic Church, we eventually mastered when to pull out.


When we were Neanderthals, we had no buses to take, no offices

to be at, no flights from Germany to wherever. I was never


lonely. You’d run and hide in the woods and I’d try to spot you. We

thought the stars were ours. We thought the earth was square.


We thought the sky was a song, and then the Homo sapiens came.


Originally appeared in NOR 19.
Chrys Tobey’s poetry has been published in numerous places, including the minnesota review, Ploughshares, The Cincinnati Review, Verse Daily and Rattle. Her first book, A Woman is a Woman is a Woman is a Woman, was published in 2017 from Steel Toe Books. Chrys lives in Portland, Oregon.

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