I took a date to the Smithsonian
and told her: Here lies Martha, or stands, perched
somewhere in the marble recesses of
our natural history, all boxed up
velvet maybe, dusty now. I once saw
her cousin dodo, stuffed, feathered gray, white,
chicken down all over. Martha kept her own
bones displayed over her title, from egg
to Ohio to block of ice. Last. Last.
Last night I took another girl, second
date, to see again the henned-up dodo
mounted beside decayed remains, glass eyes
fixed upon insects long drowned in amber,
a coelacanth in the next room, drowned too.
But maybe Martha has friends in the dark
museum storerooms, a red rail, dead with
the dodo, bathed in formaldehyde, C-
H20, so close to being alive.