The Rich Historian

I once believed
in salvaging used things.
Items rich in history and experience,
still carrying the weight
of someone’s emotional manifestations.
Heavy engravings,
markers of some past life,
deeply etched
like synthetic veins
on some inanimate object.


I once saw
beauty in that pain.
That rawness that seeped out.
The tragedy which had transpired.
Speaking volumes on humanity.
The abandonment made richer
the victim.
The neglect, part of the glory.
The bounty, mine.
Or is it?

Like an isolated museum hall
do I not celebrate
something which is long gone.
Encased in glass.
Extinct, no longer here,
only a remnant of what once was,
an outer shell.
An eaten peanut,
the seed of a mango
with all the juice sucked
dry by another.
The empty chrysalis of April’s butterfly
in December.

What is it I once
believed in?
Collecting things
half gone,
forgotten,
put aside,
broken and dispossessed.
Wading through wreckage
to find that bounty,
that treasure
to deify.
To idealize
and identify.
To give a home to,
still searching to heal the world.

No longer
enough satisfaction in
just stray kittens
but now shattered men
to heal and mend.
Make shiny and new
like that found penny
or pearl button.
Found and lost.

Content with the load
in my small pocket
or yesterday’s little dirty fist
of seashells,
and pretty stone,
like that glittery one
at the beach
or the downy feather,
or the fallen eyelash
rescued from your cheek
and some confetti
that descended
from your curls
tight in my grip.

I once found comfort
in my miniature menagerie
of odd artifacts.
Odds and ends.
The salvaged and the wrecked,
the chipped and the flawed,
the old and the timeless,
misbegotten and misplaced.

Growing sedentary
I tire.
The weight
of my altruistic meandering
growing obtrusive,
getting the better of me.

As the day grows old,
my dirty fists
wracked with pain, dirt and blood,
I wonder who will
salvage me?

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