The fossil monster

The fossil monster

I can see Francis Tully
the fossil hunter
come south from Joliet
in 1955
a quiet man
in a shallow pool of time.

It is hot and muggy
as only Illinois can be
and absolutely still
so still that sweat chills
glaze across his back
from time to time.

He kneels in a hollow
of gray alkaline clay
delved and abandoned
by the Peabody Coal Company
inhabited by scrub cottonwoods
and deerflies.

Monsters were waiting
just below the bruised earth
in 1955.

They were having trouble
keeping their long held place
beneath the riven land.