Judi Sutherland – In the Dream Museum

In The Dream Museum

A corridor of smooth stone, where two
high windows let in brilliant blue.
At the far end, a pithos stands, as tall
as me, or taller. Glass cases line the walls.

More rows of cabinets in a dim side-room
part Burrell Collection (underwater gloom
and multiple reflections) part Pitt-Rivers
(shrunken heads and capes of ostrich-feathers).

People in shorts with cameras walk about
silently among exhibits. I move out
into another, brighter gallery, where the wall
displays a crevice, seismic and diagonal,

I slide my hand in, expecting mortared stones.
but pull out organs; liver, lights and bones,
Something I once knew makes sense of everything;
the rubble inside a wall is called the ‘hearting’.


Judi Sutherland is a poet based in Barnard Castle, County Durham. Her pamphlet ‘The Ship Owner’s House’ was published in spring 2018 by Vane Women Press.

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