So much of once
and now and soon
is or will soon be
caught here, framed and glassed—
free of the drifting air—
and hung, so that
the very halls
that lead from room
to room are rooms
themselves that make room
in little dim-lit alcoves
all along them for what
there wasn’t room for
in the other rooms.
On the wall outside
each doorless doorway
the audio guides lined up
like black-suited
miniature docents
are waiting to tell the story
of the ambition and the breakthrough
to the early to the later
to the late or belated
recognition of the name
whose final triumph was to
end up in the digital
recording of the nameless storyteller
telling the story
to the inglorious and mute.
All night, inside each
doorway there’s an empty chair
that keeps watch
over an empty bench
that watches the cordoned
off and glassed in
figures revert to pigments
that revert to dyes,
oils, and the mineral
grains that press
against the glass
as if to pass through it
back into the air they came from,
alive again—docents of dispersal
drifting from room
to room through hallways
down the marble stairs
out past the headless winged victory
they entered by.