The Seas Receded Once, and We Followed

A path winds around the trunks of palmettos and oaks

in dark primordial air

I forget time

once the sea left shell and tabby

a hundred miles inland—

were we here when the sea was so near

I need clocks and compasses

to reckon how deep

when did we sex ourselves into lungs and thumbs—

before or after the land plants

in their multitudinous sexualities

also elongated their reach

how many thousand years ago

when was man when was woman child

an unfinished thought

when was that man that woman

who first set foot on the floor of the ocean

did they live in time

the earth ticks and delivers sunlight to other shores

but I my store-bought everything

my twenty-four hour internet

my sleepwalking my daydreaming

never do the math

better to think on the stinking marshes

the reptilian forking seaward creeks

the arabesques of aquatic fowl

the imported sand

no way can I gauge depth or breathe underwater

what volume of water is in this body

how much has it lost

how much daylight do I have left