Dead Birds and Relics and Too Many Words

Dead Birds and Relics

Moths and flames and curiosity;
I was drawn to that boxy-solid
museum with its grey dullness,
and its terraced strong-arm steps
for catching slips and stumbles
during white-mantled weather.

Those were my impressionist days
when the world was dipped in a blur,
and the busy periphery yielded to
burdenous double-door brass knobs
bold as a blazing crest, and beyond
that glass cabinets in tender need
of a clean from musty turning-to-dirt
and fretful sleepy smell.

And the polished scrub oak floor
was an ancient deep breath like
you’d expect from silent rain.
But I’ll mostly remember
the ancient coins, a glint
like an atoll’s stainless sand.

Roman coins and relics set next
to dead birds and pinned moths
and glassy-eyed badgers. I sat
on a child-size, cut cedar bench,
my imagination suspended in the moment,
in the dull light, in the whale’s
jaw bone, and a dinosaur’s foot.



Note: This is getting a major chop at the first opportunity. It’s so heavy on modifiers that it makes me want to … I don’t know, do something to it. Burn it maybe. Written for dVerse’s Impressionist’s prompt, and Miz Quickly’s Testing Modifiers

2 responses to “Dead Birds and Relics and Too Many Words”

  1. That last stanza has real possibility, don’t you think? And I like “sleepy smell” very much. — Before it got “better housing” and room to store things out of sight our state museum was like that. The basement of a WWl memorial building, it was chock full of whatever people had donated. Edison wax rolls and womens’ bustles. Anything Civil War that you could imagine. There was a mummy, too. Can’t remember what relation it was supposed to have to Tennessee history, though. Being underground, it was cool in summer. My friend and I spent a lot of Saturday afternoons there. The new place is roomy, curated, and dull. Odorless.


  2. I think you conveyed Impressionism quite well. Just the idea of living on the periphery. Last stanza is filled with rich imagery.


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