mantell piece

two hundred years ago
Mantell filled a bucket
with teeth and bones
from the local quarry
hurried home
put two and two together
and came up with a crocodile
later, re-jigging the puzzle,
he made a giant iguana
with a hook on its nose
named it Iguanadon
(the hook was actually
a claw; well,
even monstrous herbivores
needed a little something,
given the size
of the carnivores
hanging around
back then)

now it’s all changed
mountains have peaked
and gone, the earth’s
plates spun out
the Isle of Wight isn’t where Egypt is anymore
and the river delta
where that Iguanadon
chewed his leaves
staring unblinking
at the horizon
– even those endless
shivering softly yielding sands
are rock hard
and where the iguanodon fell
the meat counter at Sainsbury’s

I’m sitting in the foyer
of the health centre
thinking about nothing in particular
sipping a mocha
glad I hadn’t gone for the sprinkles
when a guy walks past with his hood up
the hood is designed to look like
a dinosaur head
not so much Iguanodon
as Godzilla
quite convincing though
especially the way he’s hunched
over an energy bar
the size of a small bus

I wonder what Mantell would’ve made of it


notes from the frontline of adult social care

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