Sunday Poem

The Idea of Egypt Begins to Emerge in 1955
AD After a Field Trip to the Mummy in
the NashvilleMuseum of Natural History

Unlike us they spoke with a foreign accent
Egyptian I guess and they didn’t live very long

or maybe they just kept shrinking like an old person
does on account of their being very extremely
wrinkled they took trinkets with them into their

burial chambers kind of like the stuff I would
pullout of my Mother’s top dresser drawer

that she always made me put back and couldn’t
for the life of her understand why I took it out
in the first place the mummy was kind of scary

the first time I saw it but by the second field trip
I was older and all and could look into the holes

where the ears eyes nose and mouth used to be
and count the threads on the dirty gray linen
that wound around the bones there was hardly

any other place to go on a field trip to except
FortNashboro which was a pretty poor excuse

for a fort which I guess is why the Cherokee
made the early Nashvillians mostly miserable
and the Upper Room which when you got there

all it was a big wooden carving of a famous
painting of the last supper which we had every
year at my house anyway except instead of Jesus
and the disciples we had my family and my sisters’
dumb boyfriends one girl fainted the first time

we saw the mummy and lots of girls screamed
kind of like they thought they were supposed to

even though it was a museum there’s a limit to
how long you can look at a mummy though and
after about two minutes we moved on down to

the glass cases that held real Indian arrowheads
that were probably just dug up out of the ground

but which I couldn’t help hoping had been ripped
from the still-beating hearts of the coon-skinned
soldiers at FortNashboro and plunked on Jesus’

seder plate what do you think y’all get back on the bus
now would have sounded like in hieroglyphic

by Arne Weingart
from ABZ Press