Mummies and Then They Were Gone, tan-renga poem by Genie Nakano and Dean Okamura at
Circe Denyer

Mummies And Then They Were Gone

Mummies and Then They Were Gone

written by: Genie Nakano and Dean Okamura



lost little girl in the
Museo de las Momias
night approaches
she runs faster and faster
in the wrong direction

a strange odor
seeps from the walls
burning her nostrils
stagnant scents flowing from
the hall of antiquities

mummies in a row
bodies twisted and stretched
stand at attention
dried parched limbs twitch
begin swelling with new life

the young girl is not
afraid merely mesmerized
as if knowing
they are telling stories
both sad and interesting

a river of tears falling
from the mummies eyes
she realizes
why she is here, a witness
a conduit to set them free

only for the poor
forsaken burials
their cries
shaking the room with sorrow
their tears flood the floor

moldy strings
lose their grip on the mummies
they break away
she falls into a deep sleep
as liberated spirits dance

And then they were gone.



In two thousand fifteen, I visited the Mummy Museum in Guanajuato. It haunted me — until Dean Okamura and I wrote this tanka series together. His ending is liberating.

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