Contemplating Your Progress

by gm

Molly Peacock


…………….Thomas Crawford’s sculpture, 1856
…………….Brain Bleed, 2012

The New York Historical Society.
Huge white marble sculpture in the lobby:
“Dying Indian Chief Contemplating

the Progress of Western Civilization.”
You duck beneath him with your wobbly cane
then upturn your face toward his, contemplating

his sober view of hysterical society.
“Something terrible has happened!” you say loudly
as a teenage girl to the sculpted dying man.

“He’s so sad!” you repeat to the empty lobby
where you make a pair, a society of two
(plus a volunteer and a guard) contemplating

the mystery of the new you, brain torqued
from your stroke. You connect without history
—but with feelings whole—to the agony

of the Dying Indian Chief in marble.
Your fresh response remakes his catastrophe.
Yes, something terrible has happened—

we amble on. “That’s a very sad man back there.”
Progress comes. With a cane. Without piety.
Wake up a statue. Then repair.