Zenobia Frost      home      


The Hobby

for Anatoly Moskvin, a cemetery
archaeologist arrested in Russia in 2011

I crawl from dust to dust
each Monday morning

each man must claim one diversion
from corner desk buried
under papers in shrinking faculty

I have the teeth of archaeopteryx
and flaking tomes I dug up with the dead

the first dig was the thrill of my career
her skin was perfect, dry as leather
her lips were parted just to whisper
nothings in the words of Cleopatra

I took her home and made her dinner
I seduced her with 13 ancient tongues
she stayed for breakfast
she stayed forever

the second was more delicate
but her name had struck my linguist’s heart
I dressed her in my mother’s clothes

my bevy, twenty-nine exotic birds
there’s barely room for me against my desk
there’s barely room anymore at home

let me keep the only company I keep
let me have my littlest of rewards
do not doubt that they will testify

our histories are six foot in all their rot
I’ve exhumed and slept in coffins for this art
I have walked for miles with my chisel
I’ve eaten dirt and sipped from graveyard puddles

yet with one bag of much-loved bones
you find me, and you call me mad

Other poems from Zenobia Frost's collection 'Salt and Bone'

Cimitiere des Innocents, 1786

Civic Duty

Early Rituals