From WTP Vol. V #3
My Walk-In Museum of Natural History
By Tricia Knoll
As curator, I place artifacts for you to enjoy between sunbreaks and heartaches. Entry to the gardens is free, as is stepping across the scuffed welcome mat. Please leave your shoes beside my garden clogs and the running shoes by the front door.
Listen for a free-form resonance of bell gongs between temporary installations. Today six peacock feathers—five of which are white. Half a robin’s egg on the fireplace mantle
beside the wind-up tap dance man. A Navajo rug older than you are.
Inhale the smell of wet husky fur and dusty black and silver-striped velvet on an over-stuffed loveseat. The reference room features a miniature Oxford English Dictionary, a magnifying glass, topographical maps of Oregon’s national forests, a slide rule, and a Scrabble dictionary. Enjoy the earthy incense of clove, camphor, and sandalwood.
The Museum is a treasury of doors ajar, windows to the woods, empty gutters and silent solar panels at work. View the collection of Zuni animals fetishes (sorted by creatures of air, land, or sea) made out of jet or the swallowtail butterfly captured in a Lucite box.
What I don’t point out to you is the vase of roses from a new hybrid, fluttery blooms with the subtlety of silk and a dusting of cocoa on petals that frame a molten center. Not everyone sees them. Those that see them will find their shoes wiped clean of mud and filled with peppermints when it is time to go.
If you walk to the creek to view the fire-scarred cedar root wad, you may pick a fig or sit below the vine maple on a park bench next to Garden Buddha. This is where the museum opens the vault. Green meets sky.
through the fissures
Tricia Knoll’s work has appeared in Calyx, Windfall, Antiphon, Silver Birch Press, and Minerva Rising Press’s blog, as well as in anthologies from Minerva Rising Press, Red Claw Press, and Poetry Box Press.