In this collector’s gallery, the large skulls
of early Britons debate in an airless glass
It is a musty reliquary of stuff:
the charcoal study of a kidney, the horse
dissected across a flush of cabinet cards,
a beautiful cross section of a chanterelle
under magnification (to show the funnel
of gills, yellow as turmeric), a tall carpet
thought to be Moroccan in origin, colors
rotted away by the sun’s infernal rounds,
and a boxy, six-stringed crwth, the kind
of lyre one bowed, innovated by a Celtic
tradesman dead for centuries, but hung
casually, as though it remained playable.
Erick Verran is the author of the essay collection Obiter Dicta (Punctum Books, 2021). Recent scholarship can be found in the Journal of Gaming and Virtual Worlds and Postmodern Culture. His poetry and criticism are forthcoming or appear in The Georgia Review, Harvard Review, The Drift, The Cortland Review, Subtropics, MQR Online, Tourniquet Review, The Massachusetts Review, and elsewhere. He lives in New York.