Homo Habilis:
The Tool-Maker
Praise the world to the angel, not the unutterable world;
you cannot astonish him with your glorious feelings ...
--- Rilke, The Duino Elegies
I saw a wooly rhinoceros yesterday
and we chased it down to the Stop'n Rob.
Edmond killed it, but we were too far
from the cave to get it back home
before nightfall and the hyenas.

We give each other drill bits
for Christmas. We don't really like
each other, but a tool is always
appreciated. A pack of angels
from the main office came down ---
wanted to see how things were working
out. How we were getting along.
They ignored Edmond and his
fancy talk about astronomy, but they
fluffed their wings over my new drillbits.
"Atta boy," they said. "Nice tool." So we
showed them what we'd been making.
Carol brought out her toothpick; Sy,
his business card holder. The angels
nodded to each other
making marks in things they called "books."
Then Susan had to wreck it all. She told them
of the death of her child --- the little girl
we were all so fond of and
the terrible accident of her death.
"This sorrow is my tool --- sharpened
so hard and close to my heart,"
she said to the head angel.
"l don't need a stone to sharpen it,
this blade never grows dull. It is with me
always, never far
never far from my hand. Do you see?
Do you see its fine, sharp edge?" The angels
shook their heads. Closing their books,
they said, "here is one we don't know.
How quick it cuts, how sharp the blade." They backed
from our cave as if afraid. At the door, the last one paused,
his wings, we now noticed, looked a little worse for wear,
"from here out," he said, "you suckers are on your own."

--- Kevin Ducey
From The Open Light
Poets from Notre Dame, 1991 - 2008

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