A Walk Among The Bones

The museum is climate controlled
with inch-thick glass
between the dioramas
and me.This hushes
the history. Sobers
all the miniature people
frozen in time, hand-painted.

A birds-eye view,
I observe the modeled activity,
the huts, the plains. Look:
the hunters have killed
a deer. I cannot see
the women waiting inside

the smoky hut,
the central fire, naked
toddlers pissing in the dust.
Vermin-riddled beds of sticks and hide.
The darkness, the stench.
Each newborn shrieking
a chanting woman biting the cord

I grow bored by imagination,
walk away quietly
to another part of the museum
where behind the glass are genuine bones
painstakingly articulated to show
this long-dead woman stirring
a pot. I see every tooth in her head.


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