Night of Mysteries

(after Rufino Tamayo’s painting Noche de misterios, 1957)

A man, a woman who have seen better
days wave a metal detector back

and forth over the city park
across from the art museum

trowel armed excavating
the lawn unshaven in jeans

and ragged baseball caps
how many wedding rings

buried how many bottle cap
crowns this month’s exhibit

features index cards beside
the paintings on which patrons

have written can write reactions
the colors make me happy

at first we’re the only ones here
I feel like it should be closed

I feel as if I am intruding
on someone else’s what it means


MATTHEW WOODMAN teaches writing at California State University, Bakersfield and is the poetry editor for the Chilean journal Southern Pacific Review. His stories and poems appear in recent issues of The Moth, The Interpreter's House, The California Journal of Poetics, and Oblong.