Kevin Prufer


Who Are Our Barbarians?

                    —The museum


How we love them
when they are singing and simple

in gorgeous sneakers.
Invite them in, touch their eyes

until they sprout. Touch their mouths
with art. Hush, hush—

Soon they will speak. Then a tour,
so the slack mouths unfurl

and those many colored
birds fly out!

Or: call them from their hovels.
Then, in their blister lips, in their shackles

and downcast looks, their nervous rows,
you can paint them, quick,

with brushes and gouache.
Mount them

on the wall. Our barbarians
are fleet to the touch and,

like paintings, lovely.

© 2008 Electronic Poetry Review