“The First Humans”

They must be sitting or maybe squatting by the meager fire, primitive smoke lifting into air, mingling with the fog that surrounds the muddy river. It is hard to say at this distance if they are cooking something or simply reaching their hands into the warmth, hard to say how old they are, if they are male or female, or even the precise number. The sky looms ancient above them, low-slung and gray with the brooding of first light, and the slow gesture of the current seems somehow sentient, moving out in its eternal passage. Then the mattress sinks when I step away from the window and sit beside where you are sleeping, your naked shoulders exposed above the sheet, and I see your eyes come open, your lips part, and what makes their way into the air are the first words.

Doug Ramspeck

About Doug Ramspeck

Doug Ramspeck is the author of five poetry collections. His most recent book, Original Bodies, was selected for the Michael Waters Poetry Prize and is published by Southern Indiana Review Press. Individual poems have appeared in journals that include Kenyon Review, Slate, Southern Review, and Georgia Review. Stories have appeared in Iowa Review, Southwest Review, Green Mountains Review, Gargoyle, and others. He is a two-time recipient of an Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award, and he teaches creative writing at The Ohio State University at Lima.