By Amber Norwood
In the old museum we trace blue lines
on the map (note the key:
here, there is food.
here, an escape. Here,
a place to rest, a sip of water),
and exercise control in hallways.
Mothers in worn black
shoes knock hollow each step
into dim-lit cases –
the bear is frozen at their echo,
knee deep in glass river,
mouth soundless open
in defense of the salmon
that is also permanently still.
Footsteps are murmurs blowing
pinned Bog Copper, wings unstruggled. Steps
stir thatch on the model hut; the Indian
before it has no face,
but a fine headdress. The hush
waits, shining the gold inlay on ceramic
bowls. Our pointing fingers plan
whole days, wander on maps,
our origins defined
floor by floor,
where dust is preserved
in thick plastic casing,
a gem becomes artifact,
a bowl, biography –
something we can see.
By lost, we mean fixated by bone.
By bone, we mean nightmares of ancestry.
By frightened, we mean it's closing time:
the docents are tired, and the doors upstairs
lay bare the world without visible legend.
© 2007 prickofthespindle.com
Amber Norwood recently received her M.A. in Poetry from Cal State Northridge and now teaches writing at a few colleges in and around Los Angeles, where she lives with her husband and cat. When she is not teaching writing, or commuting between colleges, she is making music and writing poems. Her work has previously appeared in The Northridge Review, Luhith, and The Bandersnatch.