Academic journal article Transactions of the American Philosophical Society

Child Model

Academic journal article Transactions of the American Philosophical Society

Child Model

Article excerpt

for Rosalie Carlson

(Greenland Eskimo mummy, boy, four years old,

National Geographic, February 1985)

I want to adopt you, doll-like child,

your death, your National

Geographic resurrection. Cold

has clasped you in its cache, all

gaze, all glimmer. Arctic star,

cuddled in sealskin grave-creche, still

you wait there for your mother,

trusting she'll trudge back through the snow,

famine, centuries: lift you from this glamour,

snatch you, full-limbed, laughing home. But now

in these pages, trapped, you touch

for comfort tiny beads of bone. We know

nothing of you save that such

patient beauty, still unputrefied,

was never seen in death. We clutch

you, ancient child: we need

to think you're saved, as if one face unmarred

in Kodachrome rescued all others who have died

ugly, bruised, disqualified. …

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