The Curse of Knowledge

surfaced from basin slough stagnant with blockage / high water content begets moss / slows vegetal decay / results in acidified void devoid of minerals and oxygen / idyllic condition for sphagnum to grow die rot / release carbohydrate polymer sphagnan / only this: likely not last // body dyed / brown stained as oversteeped tea but remarkably preserved: / trimmed nails close-cropped hair eyes closed as in sleep despite plaited leather thong tight around neck / line high on throat indicative of hanging / not choking / no visible puncture marks abrasions tattoos scars except / right amputated hallux // bones: rubber flexible / sphagnan binds nitrogen halts bacterial proliferation but leaches calcium / soft tissue preserved: intestines brain heart lungs / lifelike if desiccated // radiocarbon dated age of 2,300 years / possible sacrifice murder god-offering suicide / unclear whether preservation was intended or accidental but presence elsewhere of waxy foodstuffs made from dairy fat meat indicates rudimentary knowledge of preservation methods // calm compared to some: / one forced to his knees garroted throat slit neck broken skull smashed / thrown in and left to drown / though opinions differ // such pretty eyelashes / teeth // still the half-seen rictus of the anthropocene / so often it comes to this:

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