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The Archaeologists

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found pins
by the millions
while meticulously
stripping
a portion
of Manhattan
worked over
by women who
mended between
appointments:
the harlot’s
artifacts include
extracts of
old wax
paper wrappers
filled with pin
after pin,
— imagine
all sixteenths
spilled
from the inch
ruler;
imagine each
a singular
spoke
of tin,
each one fell stroke
in a ledger;
less than
a cent
of metal
total,
a dowry. Her
nicks of time,
dropped stitches,
poke-throughs
taken in,
how each
man may
have fit
against
the satin hem
of her memory.

Source: Poetry (February 2014)

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This poem originally appeared in the February 2014 issue of Poetry magazine

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The Archaeologists

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