Poems

Mummy Exhibit

 

Jake says it’s one turtle on the next one’s back, 

all the way down. Near bottom are the skulls 

wrapped and half-wrapped, turned to stone, 

ribs turned up like ship-ribs. Grins that say 

friends forever, whether you like it or not.

Babies’ large heads flattened from eons of rest. 

The long bodies of adults, leather on bone, 

eyes empty, the bald truth picked out, scanned,

carbon-dated. Jake likes the one in the sarcophagus—

well, not in, but suspended  on glass between 

its carved halves, a Russian nesting doll ready 

to fit. It’s a fine afternoon, all of us spinning 

on the planet,  Jake growing, me crumbling, 

moving among mummies held between then 

and now. You can almost touch bottom, you stand

rapt for something more, something inside 

the inside that surely must correspond to 

what’s too far up to see, but thank God is holding 

very still and has not toppled everything, yet.