Formerly Thought to Be Love
by Christine H. Boldt

The day we toured the British Museum,
we saw the Townley Vase in its vitrine,
just one of many marble artifacts,
save that, due to attribution error,
it had once been considered the object
to which Keats referred, in his Grecian ode.
As a consequence of this assumption,
the urn had been given its own glass case.

And, once the slip-up was pointed out,
rather than demote it to a lesser place,
conservators decided on a plaque
proclaiming their egregious blunder.
Back then, we thought it droll: their reluctance
to let a good story go, concluded in
enshrining a mistake. But now I understand.

I still have every letter that you sent,
tied with blue ribbons, in a satin box.

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