The Schiele Museum of Natural History and Planetarium
I observe with lack of stoicism
an alligator snapping turtle
lifting her heavy feet.
There are snakes
who cannot uncoil themselves
—I think of driving, when I can’t straighten my legs—
birds that cannot fly,
a “gator” in a handspan of water,
these exist beside their own dead.
Squeak and Wanda watch a television program:
“Bison is a white man’s word.”
Through experience we know
what it took to build it.
What will it take
In this exhibit look for elements of pride:
I think that I would like to make
the dioramas that house the stuffed ones.
I note the clean plastic that is water and frost.
The leaves cut from polyester,
the batting snow.
Most painful are moments where
the artist has tried to manufacture
urgency: a duck half-submerged,
beak open to clamp fish.
Dust settles around
its entry point.
The spheres forming its splash
have yellowed with time.
Thus being, says the plaque,
Thus being, I go.