Lee Chapman, June-July 2020


The British museum boasts seven million “objects,”
not all of them on display:
curators show off the most important.
But I’ve seen
    ~ the Rosetta Stone,
    ~ the Elgin Marbles(1),
    ~ the Lewis chessmen
  (does each pawn count as one “object”?).

Now I’d like to see, say, the humblest hundred:
    ~ mummy fingers,
    ~ arrowheads (or rocks),
    ~ everyday butterflies pinned to spreading boards,
    ~ ancient anteater big toe fossil fragments,
(is each fragment an “object”?)
    ~ pottery shards,
    ~ pottery sherds,
(a video explaining the difference).

1 the next day I was on the Acropolis, studying emptiness


There’s no chance
any of my guitar picks
will ever be on view
at the Rock and Roll
Hall of Fame.

There’s no chance
my prairie-style birdhouse
will hang in MOMA—
even in an elevator lobby
next to the Andrew Wyeth(2) they despise.

There’s no chance
my Yoko Ono Wish Tree wish(3)
will be dug up in Iceland(4)
and read.

But it is conceivable,
albeit astonishingly unlikely,
that through some fantastical sequence of unforeseen unusual events,
with an unimaginably vanishingly small probability,
(epsilon approaches zero, but never reaches zero),
some century,
my bunion will become
the seven million and first.

2 his 1948 masterpiece Christina’s World

3 I wrote one at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice

4 Ono claims she does not read them, but buries them at the Imagine Peace Tower on Viðey Island in Kollafjörður Bay.