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Backlit by the Museo Nacional

in Culture by

The meteor at the entrance is unharmed but the skeleton
of the 12,000-year-old woman’s charred
beyond recovery as are the pinned
exoskeletons of dragonflies and the pharaonic coffin.
The conflagration came down to party squabbles, lack
of political will, the scientists on their own
to battle termites, hire janitors, and comment on
the jerry-rigged wires coated in flammable plastic.
The people watched the flames from the street,
shoulder to shoulder but impotent, their rich
history billowing black smoke. Life’s a bitch.
Always comes retrenching. The tiny advance, the larger retreat,
wonders at risk of being consumed,
our deepest loves vulnerable and naked.


READ MORE

Fire devastates Brazil’s oldest science museum [National Geographic]
Funding cuts blamed as icon is gutted [BBC]
Students are collecting images to digitally preserve Brazil’s museum after tragic fire [Remezcla]


Devon Balwit teaches in Portland, OR. She has six chapbooks and three collections out or forthcoming, among them: We are Procession, Seismograph (Nixes Mate Books), Risk Being/Complicated (A collaboration with Canadian artist Lorette C. Luzajic); Where You Were Going Never Was (Grey Borders); and Motes at Play in the Halls of Light (Kelsay Books). Her individual poems can (or will) be found here as well as in The Cincinnati Review, apt, Posit, The Carolina Quarterly, Vector Press; Red Earth Review; The Turnip Truck(s), Drylandlit; Eclectica, SWWIM, Peacock Journal, and more.