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Exhibit: Leftover Model from the Museum of History


History is a matter of perspective:

put your eye to my navel. Inside,

I'm trompe l'oeil in apron and bonnet,


keeping the homefire burning.

Last year's model in yesterday's switchyard—

what am I for if not forgetting?


Come in, come in. There's room for all—

mice and manifestoes, Zelda's last boa.

The Man in the Moon's off to tea


with the burlesque girls from years ago.

Cleopatra is dusty, Napoleon's gone bald,

and the Gold Rush gave up in Nevada.


Someone's washed his hands, someone's

called it quits, and we're left

obsolete as an icebox, packed in the attic.


Make something of myself? I've already snapped

two good needles in trussing up

my possible eras. Memory


is for the feint of heart. Instead,

I proffer the marvelous revisioning:

Marie Antoinette crossing the Delaware,


Greta Garbo at the head of the Huns.

Without embellishment, all you have

is snip and tuck, add a gusset.


Even as we speak, Catherine the Great

is inventing synthetics. See her

in the room to your left:


in one hand she holds the scepter;

in the other hand something is growing.

Something is taking over.

 


—Claire Hero

 


Claire Hero's poems are forthcoming in Willow Springs. She is currently Writer-in-Residence at Washington University in St. Louis.

Originally published in the Summer 2002 issue of Boston Review


Copyright Boston Review, 1993–2005. All rights reserved. Please do not reproduce without permission.

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