Poetry: The British Museum

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bull and egret,
wild goats

a god with seaweed fronds
and dolphins in his hair

a pair of cuttlefish, a man
without a head—

the boy-king curls
his long toes and decrees

today the day
of the great lion hunt:

the grooms are careful
of their feet,

the sculptors are present, and
the death agonies are shown with considerable realism—

what an honor
even to ride alongside!

imported lions
choke on the royal spear

and are left to welter
wide-eyed in the roaring plain

they ask each other
why this is happening

limestone,
whalebones

snout and crown
a city under siege

once no one came at all,
and everything just waited there


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Hannah Loeb is a poet at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She graduated from Yale University in 2012 and received the Clapp Fellowship for poetry. Her work will appear in the Fall/Winter issue of Ninth Letter.