PoetryIssue 05 | June 2009

The National Museum

by Crystal Gibbins

They have waited a long time
for someone to notice them,
these mud grenades,
oatmeal colored and acrid
like a sulfur mine
sit along drab shelves
behind a wall of glass.
Hematite poised and graven,
quartz spiney as a blowfish,
garnet voluptuous like plums
in a bread pudding.

From the window, sunlight
corrugates the room
as if it can transmute into gold any metal
making me believe that I can create a life
from riddles piled up by glaciers,
black obsidian from the veins of magma,
submerge and slip through gaping fissures
racing toward hardness.

How far they’ve traveled to get here.
Someone plucked them out of darkness,
loved them once,
and brushed the soil clear
from their crumpled faces.

About the author

Crystal Spring Gibbins is a PhD student in the Creative Writing Program at University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where she serves on the editorial staff for Prairie Schooner. When she’s not teaching or taking classes, she loosens the knot from her necktie, hugs a seat cushion on any goddamn plane, and speeds over the Atlantic to trek through the streets of Prague, London, and Venice.

Read our current issue:


Two poems by Anne Babson
Vignette, Townhouse, 9 a.m. by Troy Cunio
Night Becomes Day Over the West by Megan Foley
Yukon River Aurora by D. B. Goman
Two Poems by David Havird
Cretan Love Letter by Emily Linstrom
Holland by Rick Mullin
Fear in Kenya by Kristina Pfleegor
The Lounge Lizard by Ed Shacklee
Two Poems by Sarah J. Sloat
Night Flight by Vicki Stannard
Koinonia Farms by Alina Stefanescu
Thessaloniki, Four a.m. by Anastasia Vassos
Imaginary Oceans by Jason Warren
Two Poems by F. J. Williams

Postcard prose

It’s Salty by Kelly Hill

Travel notes

Anchorage in the Great Land by Karen Benning
The Value of Small Money by Megan Hallinan
Screensaver by Sandra Larson
Thirty Cents by Tommy McAree
Gokarna by Kate McCahill
Going Places by Rachel Miller-Howard
Susanville CA: Notes From The Road by Susan Volchok