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Ben Purkert reads his poem "The Only Museum".

Brought to you by Complexly, The Poetry Foundation, and poet Paige Lewis. Learn more:

Ben Purkert:

Poem: The Only Museum by Ben Purkert
First published in Poetry magazine, March 2019.

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Hi this is Ben Purkert.

I wrote this poem thinking about museums and how oftentimes you're told you can't touch the art. There's the guard standing there, the sensors that go off, maybe like even the blue tape or something you have to stand behind, and that always made me want to touch the art more and sort of made me think a little bit about religion and the desire to get close to something greater than ourselves and not being able to.

The Only Museum

by this point you must be hungry
for God not the real thing only
flecks of gold paint the marble bust
of a half-bull half-man

today I took a visit to the only
museum and every last gallery was
packed with snow I mean this 
literally the whole place

frozen I didn't stay long
I was worried about melting
the art I touched my eyes lightly
to each flake and when I left

the museum I believed a bit more
in God the strangest thing was 
I never shivered I knew love
the whole time