by Crissa Chappell

A tea-colored smirk,
more detailed than a doll's,
small enough to roll inside a
pinball machine, sour eyes
squinched into X's
like corpses in comic strips.
The shrunken head has
wrinkles of runic complexity.
Jivaro tribes stewed his skin
and stuffed it with stones
at least, according to the sign.

Beside his cave of papier-mâché,
with the magic-marker hieroglyphics,
sleeps a genuine Incan princess
freeze-dried in the Andean peaks.
Maybe ten when the wiseman
got her smashed on maize,
and bashed out her brains
with holy hammers
in something-something BC.

The signs say blood-revenge
was an expression of their
primitive justice.
No pallbearers for this pair.
Only Plexiglas and plaques,
antiseptics pumped in arteries,
the belated assistance
of plaster cosmetics.
In this climate-controlled mausoleum,
the mourners wear baseball caps.
The deceased, index cards.

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