Unnatural History

I come here – as some would put it –

to meditate.

I tried to be an atheist

but I was just a runaway,

like a female Hazel Motes,

though slightly less intense.

I guess I should stop

questioning the laws.

When I was a child

I was terrified of the artificial cave

in the museum,

but now I say

how fortunate the proteus

(also known as the olm)

all pink and blind and taken care of.

“Don’t touch the exhibits,” the signs remind me,

but I want to comfort the fossils.

I want to kiss the mammoth’s tusk.

I want to make away

with the abyssal fishes in the jars.

I want to press my body to the glass

and cry for the strangled fox pups.

And that new prehistoric creature

hanging from the ceiling –

closest thing to a dragon.

You were not there when I was a child

and needed you.

You were undiscovered

and like a love that I had no idea existed

until it rose to sear me,

you lay sleeping in the ground.

Is it too late now?

Preschoolers squee

and run to have their picture taken with you

I tiptoe like a thief to whisper –

Come alive.

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