man on Earth today can trace
his Y chromosome to one male who lived
about 190,000 years ago.
You were not quite human,
unknown father, but you were strong
and lucky. Though you could not imagine
the future, you were born to influence it.
The why of things held no interest for you,
yet you left your mark: these microscopic threads
that tie you to Earth's billions.
You must have known hungers we no longer
have names for, all the vocabulary you would ever need
written in the cells of your body . . . You, who
could not know greed or pride, envy or depression,
could feel beauty lift you on her broken wing.
Love, sex, offspring, old age--what could these
mean for you, who lived but left only seed?
The Y that connects us still was not even a whisper
in your mind.