Blackbird an online journal of literature and the arts Spring 2008 Vol. 7 No. 1



Mr. Brown Takes His Students to the Museum
All wars are boyish, and are fought by boys.
          —Herman Melville

George liked the bus, but ignored the exhibits.
Dick preferred mirrors. He spiked his hair
into a Roman helmet plume in the men’s room,
laughed at Trojans in the vending machine.

Karl spit on Achilles’s shield, buffed it with a Kleenex.
Still he couldn’t see himself. Paul gawked
at a sculpture welded from bazookas and Gatling guns,
touched the Do Not Touch sign by Cain’s sword,

wondered if the rust was really blood.
Nobody went near Little Boy and Fat Man
snuggling like black eggs in a nest of cinders.
Eric bought three Viking spearheads

to use as guitar picks. Wanting to get
interactive, Donald shot Tomahawk missiles
at a bunch of dots on a computer map,
zapped ICBMs and MIGs with laser pistols.

On a screen labeled Beowulf in Hell,
Scooter wrestled with Grendel’s ironclad mother,
torched her underwater lair with napalm.
Busta Rhymes throbbed from speakers.

In the cafeteria, Colin plucked one
of Sitting Bull’s arrows from a bouquet,
picked his nails and sipped a Dr Pepper.
Lightheaded as a cracked piñata,

Mr. Brown asked a janitor named Karen
for directions to the Underground. It’s right
out there, she said, pushing a small battlefield
of candy wrappers past his feet with her broom.

return to top