the last pre-person —
the last of the prehistoric people,
before humans were humans —
killed a nest of baby birds.
looking in, he saw their bodies,
fine broken bones and sticky wings,
cracked eggshell and twigs,
and did not mourn.
his sister found the nest, and she wept —
she mourned the lives of the birds,
what could have been —
and made herself the first human.
she rebuilt the bloody nest,
and replaced it in the tree,
but their mother never came home,
without needing to be told.
she wanted to witness the grief —
bird calls and horror and pain,
unimaginable animal pain, instinct —
so she brought her brother another nest.