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Recorded for Poem-a-Day, July 7, 2016.
About this Poem 

“On a rare day, I’m reminded how paper-thin and tearable existing is—the aneurysm, the cancer, the errant car jumping the curb—and such chance mortality both terrifies me and fills me with gratitude, since many of those I love are still here, somehow, and I’m still here, somehow. This poem was written on one of those grateful days.”
—Keith Leonard

Museum

I walked the three floors
of the local antique store
and imagined white plaques
adorning each room
—but unlike museums
I could touch the displays,
and could take a seat
at a beautiful walnut table—
I could wonder about the moment
its palm-stained patina 
went from simply dirty
to expensively antique—that
singular moment the thing
became slightly more
than a thing by simply
continuing to be
the very same thing—all its cracks
thick as the edge of a quarter—
all its smoothed over corners—
all its dark knots flourishing—
and I thought I could live
for awhile in this very
same body—and did, somehow,
and was loved, somehow,
into a third body, which totters
across the living room,
and whose knees I kiss
when he stumbles,
and the difference between
just now and not
is an aperture’s quick snap—
is breath-delicate—
it must have been Luck
—I see it—that saddled me,
the blind horse rising
and falling as the carnival
blared from the brass pipes,
as the carousel twirled
its crown of lights,
and one by one the bulbs 
went dark—and so it is,
this life—this goddamn
lucky life—the organ
sounding off the melody,
the platform winding down,
and the horses still bounding.

Copyright © 2016 by Keith Leonard. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on July 7, 2016, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2016 by Keith Leonard. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on July 7, 2016, by the Academy of American Poets.

Keith Leonard

Keith Leonard

Keith Leonard is the author of Ramshackle Ode (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016).