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…there is a frequently recurring struggle for existence.
—Charles Darwin

A nursling’s so unlike living fossils
like rhinoceroses or elephants dressed up in grey granite
armor or crocodiles in cardigan gravel:
who’ve a record against extinction,
can take an honest-to-God punch,
and don’t have glass jaws—weak chins—glass
skin. Finds itself ill-equipped for this life of bare-knuckle boxing;
rather, in successive snivels is the nursling—suffering
Yahweh with tiny pleas in every whine and wail,
yearning for solace—the slough
of granite plaits from mastodons, throwaway
calluses to patch the porcelain of pummeled
calfskin—unfit for the world. Observe the newborn thinness
of its buttresses, the baby soft
of its skin. God knows its no frame for igneous,
and I suppose cherubs to model a more durable
material. But didn’t Darwin distrust immutable
things; observing the frequent struggle for existence, he preached
a vatic if not natural sanctification
ringing though with scripture: “made fit through suffering.”

First published April 06 in Splash of Red (2010)

{Italicized phrases taken from On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin and/or the book of Hebrews.}