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The Archaeologist

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In one who doesn’t speak the story petrifies,
gets stumbled over, causes hurt. Then,

says the man who should know about the past, then
is a word you need to learn now. Then

lived lives had has
a name a body, sacrificial hands

so god might help us. Feel with your hands and feet
back along these countless steps and hear

the incessant bloodrush, its dark red

presence. That was what the man insisted,
in so many words, pointing to the ornate

temple corridor, an altar
conjured at its vanishing point.

Source: Poetry (May 2010)

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This poem originally appeared in the May 2010 issue of Poetry magazine

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The Archaeologist

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