Bethany Schultz Hurst

Bones That Have Been Reassembled and Displayed in Museums throughout the World

On TV two brothers yell at each other about countertops.

On the hotel bed I read outdated brochures about local history museums.

The itchy folded-back comforter is 1980s southwestern print.

I try not to touch it much.

One TV brother insists on granite countertops.

I try to pinpoint the difference between historic and historical.

Sometimes you can see fossils in granite.

I want to set my toast right on top of those polished remains.

I think one term means you are about history.

The other means you are history.

This morning I ordered off the typo’d  menu in the hotel restaurant.

The tabletop was a relic.

The tabletop was worn formica.

I’ve decided: the Prehistoric Museum should be Prehistorical.   

I keep excavating the bones of some exacting beast.  

But I still got waffles even if they were spelled wrong.

According to the brochure, the Pioneer Museum is filled with beautifully preserved furniture.

The Hall of Man explains ancestral daily life.

The exhibits rotate, according to the brochure, and I imagine them spinning like revolving doors.

But I know what they mean.

I’m actually the guiltiest of being unclear.

For instance, I still haven’t said the reason I am here.

A quarry nearby has the highest concentration of Jurassic dinosaur bones ever found.

No one knows why! the brochure says.

Something about how everything is dying/has died.

There was a viewing last night.

There will be another today.

Always bodies are rotating through those displays.

On TV, one brother is bonkers for reclaimed barnwood floors.

The past is attractive dressed up by a certain distance.

Up close it looks too sad.

When you rip up any carpet you find a tangled history of dirt and hair.

You wouldn’t believe how much is under there.

Later I will swim through the hotel pool’s recirculating water.

Many bodies have passed through.

I wear my shoes on the dingy hotel carpet, even though I don’t mean to leave just yet.

Bethany Schultz Hurst

Bethany Schultz Hurst is the author of Miss Lost Nation, which won the Robert Dana-Anhinga Prize for Poetry. Her work has been selected to appear in Best American Poetry 2015 and is published in journals such as American Literary Review, Crab Orchard Review, Gettysburg Review, New Ohio Review, and Sixth Finch. She lives in Pocatello, Idaho, where she teaches at Idaho State University.