Monday, February 12, 2007

Travelling Exhibition

appeared in The Shit Creek Review

Room by room they packed up the museum.
They filled the armored suits with porcelain,
The urns with lesser urns. They wrapped the busts
In bubble paper, squeezing now and then
Mini-explosions, just for fun, like Queen
Victoria's little wars. The paintings posed
A problem. Smaller ones in plastic sacks,
That would just do; but 19th-century
Gigantists--lacking room enough and twine,
Necessity made them inverts, hauled them out,
Hoping for fair and fine. It took a while.
The Judgement of Solomon, a red and gold
Simeon Smythe, took 12 old men to tote,
Curators with post-docs and 3 rosettes
Amongst them. When they propped the painting back
Against the mini-van to rest, it glowed.
A minion in the right foreground held out
A scimitar, prepared to bisect babes
On the command. One of the old men said,
Where is a minion where you really need one?
They left a head of Nero on the roof.
It sneered and skittered as they took the turn.

1 comment:

CMH said...

This is one of my favorite poems -- each line seems to have a unique balance which makes the action of the poem more comic, more endearing. And maybe they leave the head of Nero on the roof on purpose, perfect totem.