Once we had an assignment in our poetry class to analyze a piece of art and write a poem that featured different perspectives regarding the piece. This could vary from the point of view of the work itself, the creator, the museum curator, etc. I decided to analyze “Scribe Medicine Trail” first from the perspective of a museum curator trying to analyze the piece and then from the perspective of the creator of the piece.
Right and Left
Look right to
left, I say. Notice how
the obsidian oil
saturates the panels, hugging every
groove and niche as it
slithers across like a serpent. You can read
the panel as well as I ---“Scribe Medicine
Trail,” it whispers --- but
how do I explain the message I
didn’t imagine I’d have to tell?
An absurd game of
telephone, the meaning slipping away
over time. I know it as intimately
as its God, but I’m the misguided
prophet, blindly spreading a message I
Look left to
right, I say. Beyond that,
I lose the words.
I’m a God at a loss, looking at his own design,
despite having the pattern stained into my skull.
Do I want you to see the serpent as it stretches
towards escape, the cells and scales as intricate as
lace? Or did I design a trail that has been
trampled on, while others overlap, overgrown
over time? Is there a hidden story that slithers
across the panel, a beginning and
end, as you look left to