Chance, as always. Sudden
rain & a street without
awnings. Open double-doors
nearby, the room beyond
gaslit. A small hand-painted
plaque, Maximilian Planck’s
Wunderkammer, read in
passing, interpreted inside.
A personal museum, small
as they always are. Once might
have been a doctor’s surgery or
a dance studio. Not even a shop.
Windowless. A widow’s pension-
eking pittance, the widow’s mite.
He’d seen them before. Usually
military, the bits left over from
a life that was never shared. Medals
& Mauser bullets, though never the
one that got them in the end — if
they died that way. Most caught
the pox or plague, or fell from
their horse in a drunken stupor.
This one medical. Abnormal an-
atomical specimens on shelves
against the back wall. Inherently
dangerous. Jars full of alcohol. The
spluttering sconces on the wall.
Had seen better. Had friends
at St Bartholomew’s.
But still, but still. The
honesty of the items
stopped his heart. For a
moment, for this moment.
Later, as he thought about
them, it would happen again.
He knows there will be one
time it will stop forever.
Mark Young’s most recent books are Songs to Come for the Salamander: Poems 2013-2021, selected & with an introduction by Thomas Fink (Meritage Press & Sandy Press); Your order is now equipped for shipping (Sandy Press); & The Advantages of Cable (Luna Bisonte Prods).
You can find more of Mark’s work here on Ink Pantry.