Title: Museum Pieces

Author: Chris Price

In: Sport 40: 2012

Publication details: Fergus Barrowman, 2014, Wellington

Part of: Sport

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Sport 40: 2012

Feathers, bones, beaks and feet


21 April: Museum of Natural History, Oxford

Feathers, bones, beaks and feet

In the drawer’s forest-scented
darkness I lie on my back.
An impossible posture—
claws grip dead air
where no branch could be,
head thrown back beyond
the reach of song.

According to inheritance
I should have been
an evergreen bird;
instead I flare this rare
and fatally desirable
sun-yellow. Even so,
even here, there is reason
to be thankful. For example

the display case titled
Feathers, Bones, Beaks and Feet.
Someone out there is resurrecting
viruses from the Pleistocene.
One day surely useless beauty too
will stage its comeback:
bigger, better, cosseted,
and harbouring one vengeful
and unseen disease preserved
page 354 and nurtured for millennia
by my unforgetting half-
sisters, the harpies.