Mummies of the World Exhibit with my Young Children: F(r)iction Poetry Contest Winner

Hear the editors of F(r)iction discuss Issue 8, including “Mummies…”

Mummies of the World Exhibit with My Young Children

Girls slink into dimming,

enthralled by the play of light and cold

of each case, glass quiet and straight.

How long is 1,000 years—

Sheath of material frayed and fringing

on the edges, speaking in threads,

knees tucked, tether of bone and linen,

our noninvasive looking.

For the forgetting

there are signs: “These were humans.”

What is a named thing here?

What wrap makes arm into wing?

What happens to the brain? They ask

if they can be made into mummies,

suggesting that if I were one

I would be giving two thumbs up.

Do you close your eyes

when you die? wonders the youngest

who says she hopes her own will

stay wide open—

scrunches her forehead, amplifies

their earthen-brown.

At home I need to run,

pushing into pavement, flesh

vibrating on concrete and lung heave,

my brain still shivering in its skull.

I imagine my calf muscles pulling away,

undone from their sinews like rolls

of deli meat meant for slicing, like fabric

unraveled for the cut.

Later, I pull covers tight around their chins,

these girls so light with life, even when eyes

are shut quiet, preserved, if for a moment,

wrapped warm in the stillness of sheets.

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