What we see we know somewhat Be it but a little -- What we don't surmise we do Though it shows so fickle
After a dig the archaeologists toss in something of this World with the backfill so that later excavations aren’t nuanced
By previous efforts. A water bottle, Lay’s bag. At Hisarlık-- ATrojan in its chintzy foil. The object not of but now
And ordinary, indelible. The great finds then must all be marked By objects from without. A walking stick dropped
In terror or awe by one of the Chinese laborers at Lintong, Or even, if you set your mind’s dial to it, you can tune in to the image
Of Howard Carter’s handgun in its final resting place a kilometer Outside Tutankhamen’s. And consequently, the new archaeologists
Will someday dig for the old archaeologists—Timexes and ink Wells and unopened cans of beer or beans, trowels and footballs
Among the long catalogue of half-advances, half-defeats in looking For god(s) or man, whichever came first or last. Or them between.
81 The Paris-American
Emilia Phillips is the author of Signaletics, forthcoming from the University of Akron Press in August 2013, and two chapbooks including Bestiary of Gall, forthcoming from Sundress Publications in April 2013. Her poetry has appeared in AGNI, Hayden's Ferry Review, Green Mountains Review, The Journal, The Kenyon Review, Narrative, and elsewhere. She teaches at Virginia Commonwealth University where she received her MFA in 2012 and serves as the prose editor of 32 Poems. She will join Gettysburg College in August as the 2013–2014 Emerging Writer Lecturer.