In the Museum of Lost Objects

By Rebecca Lindenberg Rebecca Lindenberg

What thou lov’st well shall not be reft from thee;  
What thou lov’st well is thy true heritage.
      
          Ezra Pound

You’ll find labels describing what is gone:
an empress’s bones, a stolen painting
 
of a man in a feathered helmet
holding a flag-draped spear.
 
A vellum gospel, hidden somewhere long ago
forgotten, would have sat on that pedestal;
 
this glass cabinet could have kept the first
salts carried back from the Levant.
 
To help us comprehend the magnitude
of absence, huge rooms
 
lie empty of their wonders—the Colossus,
Babylon’s Hanging Gardens and
 
in this gallery, empty shelves enough to hold
all the scrolls of Alexandria.
 
My love, I’ve petitioned the curator
who has acquired an empty chest
 
representing all the poems you will
now never write. It will be kept with others
 
in the poet’s gallery. Next door,
a vacant room echoes with the spill
 
of jewels buried by a pirate who died
before disclosing their whereabouts.
 
I hope you don’t mind, but I have kept
a few of your pieces
 
for my private collection. I think
you know the ones I mean.

Rebecca Lindenberg, “In the Museum of Lost Objects” from Love, an Index. Copyright © 2012 by Rebecca Lindenberg. Reprinted by permission of McSweeney’s Publishing.

Source: Love, an Index (McSweeney's Publishing, 2012)

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Poet Rebecca Lindenberg

POET’S REGION U.S., Northwestern

Subjects Living, Sorrow & Grieving, Love, Arts & Sciences, Poetry & Poets

Poetic Terms Couplet, Elegy, Free Verse

 Rebecca  Lindenberg

Biography

Rebecca Lindenberg earned a BA from the College of William & Mary and a PhD in literature and creative writing from the University of Utah. Her essays and criticism have appeared widely, and she has been a guest blogger for the Best American Poetry Blog. Her collection of poetry, Love, An Index (2012), focuses on her relationship with her partner, the poet Craig Arnold; Terrance Hayes described the poems as a “litany of losses . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Sorrow & Grieving, Love, Arts & Sciences, Poetry & Poets

POET’S REGION U.S., Northwestern

Poetic Terms Couplet, Elegy, Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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