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Friday, August 09, 2013


by Anne Harding Woodworth

“We have found a holy thing in a chest,”
said lead archaeologist Professor Gülgün Köroğlu.
“It is a piece of a cross.”, August 2, 2013

Photos, undated and curled,
4x6s, 5x7s, lie out in the garage
in a metal chest, some framed, some loose,
some stained with wine and oil,
places miles away with names forgotten,
forgotten eyes and smiles,
pieces of you and me that have lain buried
decades, centuries, millennia,
to be remembered in swabs of saliva
from the inside of a cheek someday.
They will ask: who were our mothers?
when did we live? how did we die?
From the photos nothing will be known
of cracked ribs, nothing of teeth
(though they’ll say we ate grains, of course).
And what about the nutshells
at the bottom of the chest?
Carbon 14 will determine that squirrels
entered it a half-life ago. And surely
it’s the squirrels that gnawed
that rough slat of wood among the photos
with its ancient glyphs of black ink along the edge,
a stick that measured, or so they will say,
the height and width of a holy thing.

Anne Harding Woodworth is the author of four books of poetry and two chapbooks. Her work is widely published in literary journals and on line in the U.S. and abroad. She divides her time between the mountains of Western North Carolina and Washington, D.C., where she is a member of the poetry board at the Folger Shakespeare Library.