Bob Bradshaw

Biography of a Mummy

X-rays reveal poles thrust up his spine,
the poles dating from the Dark Ages.
His lower jaw is missing, stolen
and ground, perhaps, to a fine powder
and sold to Chinese traders.
The poles would have held him together,
brittle toes and fingers broken
as they stashed him back into his case.
He reappeared in 1893, a freak
in a side show. He was sold
to a Mr. Monjeau, a professor,
in 1895. A butt of classroom jokes,
he became an heirloom
for Mr. Monjeau's sister, and lived
like a recluse in her attic.
He made it West somehow in 1930.
He made a career of small parts
in horror movies, popping up in them
for the next twenty years.
Somehow he retired to a basement
of a museum, and lived in anonymity
until we found him in 1981.
Fragments of his life, like his body,
were missing. He was displayed
in front of the gift shop,
a dignified gentleman, his personality
as unknown as any pharoah's,
the perfect role model
for teaching our kids
the precious mystery
of a human


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