There’s a mummy on display at the museum, lying in an age-old stone sarcophagus adorned with faded hieroglyphs. There is silence on the exhibit floor despite the restless observers who move as quickly as breaths. On the inhale, I am one in a crowd of a dozen onlookers. On the exhale, I am alone. A new crowd flocks around the display by the very next breath. There is so much motion around me that I begin to find the mummy’s profound stillness unnerving. I place my hand on the cool glass, expecting it to shatter under the weight of the stillness, but it is immensely denser than I could’ve imagined.
Beneath my palm, I can feel 4 millennia of space between us.
With my eyes, I unravel the mummy’s linen bandages starting at a fingertip. I reconstruct the corpse as I undress it, mending fragmented bones and replacing rotted flesh with olive skin. I inject life where there is hollowness until I am left with what appears to be a sleeping man.
As I stare at his newly formed face, I can’t help but wonder if he had a distaste for Moonfish or a collection of handcrafted figurines made from Nile River silt. I wonder if he had a lover who reminded him of blossoming lotus flowers. The dichotomy between the sleeping man’s rejuvenated skin and the archaic sarcophagus in which he lies reminds me that he is my future, and I am his past. I feel the space between us begin to wane.
Time passes as quickly as breaths.
On the inhale, the Great Wall of China is built.
On the exhale, Rome falls.
On the inhale, the plague wipes out a third of Europe.
On the exhale, the first man sets foot on the moon.
On the inhale, there is a man with a distaste for Moonfish, and a collection of handcrafted figurines made from Nile River silt, and a lover who reminds him of blossoming lotus flowers.
On the exhale, there is a mummy on display at the museum, lying in an age-old stone sarcophagus adorned with faded hieroglyphs.