Museum Glass

Colin Lodewick


Sometimes my everyday assumes the quality of a preserved specimen.
In the National Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C.
I saw a giant squid (Architeuthis kirkii), suspended in its glass case,
caught off the coast of New Zealand, a mystery mostly until
now fixed under fluorescent light in a vat of embalming fluid
so grey and dead and static, I fell into its blinkless eye.

Sometimes my everyday is locked behind glass in
miles of storage in some infinity museum.
Locked and fixed today, yesterday, and forever in a clear
crystalline ball, you can look into it like psychics do,
with their phosphorescing signs casting
colored light on endless sidewalks, I walk by them often.

This month’s issue of National Geographic describes
a new species of human ancestor found in South
Africa. I wonder when in our evolution we acquired
the ability to know and state exactly what we are.
I find myself anywhere and I am expected
to declare myself some sort of person.

I pretend to know what that is just for the simplicity
because my selfness is very diluted
and composed of things of which I will never know the entirety.
I’m supposed to be something what I’m supposed to be is
perfect. Always, outwardly. How are you
I’m fine How are you I’m fine How are you. I’m told what is

beautiful and I think the fact that no one
really knows makes us want to state: Yes, that is beauty. No,
that is not beautiful. We are all terribly afraid, of course.
On so many papers and forms I’ve told invisible
readers where I was born and that I’m white and they
sometimes ask what is my sexuality, usually.

Little do they know that I am Nothing and Everything just like they
are. Do you identify as a male or a female? Please circle one correct answer.
Sometimes my everyday slows and eventually stops, frozen in ice,
and under cool museum glass fogged cloudy with my breath,
I hold still and feel the scrutiny of spectators who
stand in line so patiently so that they can watch my static form.


Colin Lodewick is a freshman in the College considering majoring in Environmental Studies and English.