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Friday, May 03, 2024


by Sally Zakariya

This floor tile imported from Turkey and installed during a home renovation contains what is believed to be a cross section of an ancient human jawbone. (Courtesy of Reddit user Kidipadeli75 via The Washington Post)

Check the counters and floors
check all the travertine tiles

Look for signs of the old ones
reaching up through time
   slivers of bone
      shards of teeth

Imagine the beginning: a natural
hot spring somewhere in Turkey

Layer after layer of plants and animals
trapped in the mud and fossilized

Mammoths, rhinos, giraffes,
deer, reptiles—even humans—
embedded in the travertine

Look down and count the years—
a million or more

Each step we take on earth, we walk
on the past

Sally Zakariya’s poetry has appeared in some 100 publications and been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Her publications include All Alive Together, Something Like a Life, Muslim Wife, The Unknowable Mystery of Other People, Personal Astronomy, and When You Escape. She edited and designed a poetry anthology Joys of the Table and blogs at