EXHIBIT by Leah Falk

/ / Issue 9, Poetry

                           Israel Museum

The history of glass, the story of coins—
both long tales of fire and trade.

A little girl flickers away from her mother’s
tour group to rub the mummies. Lo 

lichtzot, you can’t cross
back that far.

Before the forensic question,
the pipe mortar was used to siphon

food or water to the dead
in return for their faithful testimony.

Under glass, a woman lies with a dog:
all knees to chests, hands

for their pillows. We grind
our own sleep out of asphalt.

Which once we could trade

for obsidian, conches, basalt,
lifting the corners of the land’s

ancient skirt, bargaining further
away from our rest.

In the museum café people order cakes and coffees,
salads heavy with olives and cheese.

This is not how I want to be buried.
Burn me instead, record the blues

of the flame on the page of my body.
What have I done to the metaphor of fire,

thousands of years removed from its light?
George Lakoff would say, your fire is a thief

that goes on a journey. At whose end
it sells itself.
                        Fire is a commodity
                        with free will?

Except I am the thief. I took this land
a land is a cloth
took it in, to walk from one hem

to the other and then
I sold it,

a land 
can be worn and bought and sold, 

to the next traveler I saw.