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Published: Thu Jul 1 2010
Diego Isaias Hernández Méndez, Convertiendse en Characoteles / Sorcerers Changing into Their Animal Forms (detail), 2013, oil on canvas. Arte Maya Tz’utujil Collection.
What They Made from Its Bones

Buttons, of course.  Dagger handles.  Letter openers.
Hairpins, combs.  Blemish powders to cover moles.
Clasps, stays, grommets, bobbins, brooches, splints.
Rattles, plectrums, rosary beads, and at least one
reliquary for a splinter of the cross.  Cribbage
pegs, concertina keys, teething rings, teeth.
Sealing wax.  Fertilizer for cabbages.  Kings,
queens, bishops, knights, rooks, pawns.  Whipstocks,
aphrodisiacs, laxatives.  Pipe stems, crossbow ticklers . . .
An extinction so thorough, we find no remains
of the bird itself; only relics of a vanished settlement,
preserved for us in glass museum cases.

William Wenthe is the author of four poetry collections, most recently God’s Foolishness (Louisiana State University Press, 2016). His poems have recently appeared in The Threepenny Review, Bellingham Review, AGNI, The Georgia Review, and The Southern Review. He has received two Pushcart Prizes as well as fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Texas Commission on the Arts. He teaches in the graduate program at Texas Tech University. (updated 10/2021)

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