My First Museum
was just a room past the edge of Pasco,
at Sacajawea State Park.
The desert glared at me from the window.
The Snake River glinted like obsidian.
The walls bristled with arrowpoints:
a local dentist had spread his collection
on clouds of cotton, as if the flint
were flower petals. A flock of geese headed home,
birdpoints trailing across rectangular cloud,
points so small they might have been toys.
In a glass case a skeleton lay,
a dusty point embedded in its spine.
Had the dentist dug up a burial mound?
The bones were dirtier than I expected.
Around a breath no longer held,
grubby ribs still cupped themselves
the way fingers try to trap a handful of water.
If the spirit hid in the dark cave
of an eye socket, it curled in the dust
like a cur. One of us did not belong.