They dance all night, drinking beer after beer
Like Sumerian priests in frenzied ecstasy,
Joyous before their table where she lay — and though
She seemed shattered and small, with only porcelain bits
Of her skull, and half herself washed away or lost —
She seemed more a vision to them than all they’d ever seen.
She came to them in a parched gully
That had been scoured and picked many times before;
A piece of her arm peered out like a glimmering jewel.
As one insisted that it was not the history of a lesser animal
But just like them, the other said, “Jesus”
“Jesus Christ.” Like Peter to John at the comic crux,
“I can’t believe it. I just can’t believe it.”
The other shouted, “By God,
You’d better believe it” as they scrambled and found
More and more of her.
As now her song proclaims, again and again,
She is made of diamonds. She unfolded like California
As they panned her, tagged her, adjusted, marveled:
A play of lights under the steady, clear sun,
The spectrum of all silk scarves freed to fly
As they brushed the dust off. Really,
It was as if all the world’s mythologies collapsed
Into her — this most recent revelation. She was all of it —
The fire, the sky, the constant push of heat,
And the sea miles and miles away. The crease in the sand.
The indigene. The olive jeep.
And they knew it. These keepers of the ordered universe,
The new magic and incantations,
These recent readers of auguries, they knew they now had
The Whole Thing.
Or as close as they could come, for now
She’s silent there as they careen under the stars,
Their silhouettes like a shadow-play across the flaps of their tent.