NaPo April 18

Christ in Trindad (1)

The museum is an old house, settled deep
in town, with walls and railings and a carriage-house
and an upper floor with vaulting roof and terrace-meeting
doorways. The lower floor’s the museum: a room
of natural history, with a centipede bigger than my head,
a scorpion small as a newt. There are howler monkeys
(stuffed), an armadillo, a porcupine, a hutia – rabbity,
extinct in our northern islands – and owls and herons
and in the corner of one case, a formulated vulture.
A room for social history: the tale of artefacts,
(sewing machine, an iron iron, pinafores, modest crinoline,
a notable lack of dye). The story of indentureship,
a detailed map of lands and immigrants. Remnants of slavery,
of sugar trash. A room for heroes. Athletes line a wall – stars
in cricket, cycling, the hoisting of weights, swimming,
track and field. Two more rooms. In the Carnival exhibit,
a central pathway curves its red-roped way among the fantasies
of the street. The last room’s all for Minshall: shots and sketches,
room for awe. But this isn’t why we’re here. Climb the stairs,
the room above’s a ballroom turned to gallery.

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