God Objectified- Kate Starr/Tamara Lebak
You’ll have to use every form of transportation
to get there – a plane, a train, cars and buses,
and something that floats.
The last few hours you’ll spend on foot
following the directions of country people
speaking languages that are difficult to understand
using hand signals
and maps drawn with sticks in dirt –
turn left at a certain cedar that looks like a man,
make a right at the rock formation
of mother and child,
go through the valley, cross over a bridge, go
until you come to the crossroads …
Then, if you are looking carefully,
stairs will appear underfoot
leading you to a door that looks
very much like your own front door,
into a foyer with multiple mirrors
and countless corridors.
Lining every hall are rows and rows
endless rows of card catalogs,
sky-high shelves of dusty books,
stone tablets, papyrus scrolls,
oral traditions preserved on vinyl and cassettes,
8-tracks, CDs, and DVDs.
Down one corridor is a portrait room.
There you will find an ornately framed painting
of each and every person who has ever lived.
Or ever will.
Down another passage you enter an audio library
where the thoughts of every man, woman
and child are audible.
There is a also a video room,
with screen upon screen and holographic
images of unspeakable horrors
and moments of unbridled elation.
People of every sort are here
looking for something:
their origin, their genealogy, a connection,
Hope, Justice, Love.
Occasionally you will see
those who have taken up residence
in the hallways and sitting areas
and have no other home but here.
You might find them sleeping under newspaper
or silk calligraphy banners,
grumbling about the chatter
and having to share the space.
Animals of all kinds lope and slither and fly
throughout the halls around you.
Some creatures require a microscope to see,
others a microfiche to remember.
In one room, children slide down a giant Plexiglas
replica of the human body.
When you glide behind the eyes you catch glimpses
of the infinite and the minute.
Pass through the heart and you experience
the incredible capacity for love and hate.
Slipping through the intestines you intuitively
feel empathy and fear.
Make your way through the birth canal and,
just for an instant,
you truly understand all the paradoxes of life.
And somewhere in the bowels of this modern
steel and glass marvel,
in the turret of this medieval
stone and mortar castle,
somewhere in this igloo, this condo,
this mansion, this hut,
sits the sole proprietor, the archivist,
the docent, the librarian
meticulously, systematically, analytically
and very, very lovingly,
counting the hairs
on yet another head.