Neanderthal Harvard Poem by Michael Estabrook


I’m in Harvard’s Widener Library,

funny place for me to be

considering my pedigree, and (let’s face it)

my basic intelligence (or lack thereof).

But I’m here taking a night class, studying

and learning, commiserating with

other students, all of whom

are smarter than me. But

if I don’t tell them that my father was

a car mechanic and his father a butcher how

will they ever know? What

would most impress me would be to earn

a PhD in Philosophy from Harvard

University (found Robert Nozick’s office,

315 Emerson Hall, stood there contemplating,

then brushed up against it, trying to

absorb his philosophic ether which

was hanging no doubt in the stale hall air).

Of course, there is as much chance

of this happening as Neanderthal coming back

to life. But I can’t fix my car either

like Dad could, so have spurned my lineage,

and am denied my academic

aspirations, caught between first

and second. Neanderthal indeed. Hey!

My daughter just scored 700

on her math SAT! Yikes! There’s hope

for us yet. Do you think they’ll clone

a Neanderthal one of these days?