"Since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be?"

Saturday, September 24, 2011

In a Portsmouth Museum

written thursday, on the drive back from a field trip to Portsmouth, UK. feel free to comment if you want to discuss the poem with me.

In a Portsmouth Museum
Finish your lemon ices, and we’ll move
to the next room. There, behind
the glass, are genuine musket balls,
and canons are past the tea shop, along
the beige wall. Rosary beads on that
table were excavated just last summer.
Scuba divers carved them out
from bedrock-- covered in layers of silt. 
Delicate work,   wresting
them from all those bony fingers.
Over here are surgeon's tools.
A quick chap could
amputate your arm in
three minutes-- sawing your
bone in two with jagged
knives.    They couldn’t give
you brandy, or you’d
hemorrhage, and that’d be
the end of you,   unless someone
happens to paint your
portrait as you lay gasping
through your shattered lung, or
jots down a few romantic
lines about you, or digs 
up your skull 
a hundred years later for
a museum display.
If you’d kindly step inside
the doors, I’ll continue with the tour.

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