The crowds are drawn to the front rooms,
footsteps echoing off the marble floors
with the muffled voices of awed visitors.
I never took to the idea of a new exhibit
in a museum, the idea being contradictory,
and the care taken to clean and arrange
the remains of history borders on the absurd.
I prefer the back rooms, the ones behind
closed doors where the tourist never go,
places where I can delve among the cobwebs
and the dust, to dwell upon the past still
uncovered in the relics and bones. True
history lies in the stuff not whisked away
by the archaeologist’s brush, the dirt you
can get beneath your fingers, the debris
you breath in while trying to smell lost
memories and dreams. I often stay here
so long I become like the mummies interred
in the storage drawers; dusty skin the color
of old parchment — too brittle to touch —
eyes eternally open while seeing nothing,
a voice locked in the vault of time. Every
puff of dust reveals an ancient answer,
and another reason for asking questions.
Margo Roby asks us to build a museum,
as usual, I strayed off course.