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The Mummy

Betsy Struthers
From:   Virgin Territory. Wolsak & Wynn, 1996.


In the museum it's the only thing he wants to see,
he frets through halls of armour, scarcely stopped
by thin curved blades of scimitars. Dinosaurs
he's seen so often before he can't be bothered
to do more than glance, ignores his favourite diorama
under sea, the gaping jaws of prehistoric fish, eerie
echoes of electronic sound. The mounted skins
of mammals and of birds disgust him most, he
can't believe that someone killed them all,
on purpose, an education just in this.

It's the dead woman who enthralls him, draws him
through room after room of pottery shards,
scale models of temples and tombs. Beyond
resurrection or rebirth, human clay laid out
by loving human hands, she lies here still.
Nose and palms pressed flat against her case,
kneeling, hushed, without question as close
as he can get, he considers how familiar
are the knobs and hollows of her face, compares
the length of fingers, counts her curled toes.




Betsy Struthers's works copyright © to the author.


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