Julie Poitras Santos



                        200-400 AD, co. Kildare

                        in the National Gallery in Dublin


     Baronstown Man raises his hand   

                                                in the glass tomb

                                    and begins to speak –


A dried toe on his small curled foot

               curls down to draw a boundary line in dirt


   or scratch an itching arch or slender calf

               sting of bee or bite of ant                     

The tender little hammer-toe bent under taut


Ribbed dry mushroom stalk           

                                                mouth flap gap-open  

                        from the central trunk

Fat shitake hipbone wings                   silent   

                                       in their pockets        

            The leather body bag of bones


his ginger hair and stubble skullcap syntax-fixed        


            phrasing spent and flattened where it landed                                                             

in years of acid peat and liquid

                                    pressing down


Baronstown Man begins to speak –

but I can’t understand his language