The staff are striking by Lewis Brown

“Customer notice: the museum will be closing early today because the staff are striking.”

They are striking. Stunning. Beautiful.
Visitors are paralysed.
Many fail to make to make it past the gift shop
as they stare at the assistant’s lovely face and sigh.

A customer, standing at the till
cannot bring herself to speak
mouth goldfish agape.
The assistant blushes,
and several tourists faint.

Beyond, in the gallery
the exhibits are outshone.
Axes and arrowheads sulk in cases
as the staff are put on pedestals,
revered beyond holy books and sarcophagus kings.

The museum is closing early today because the staff are striking,
but visitors will not leave.
They gaze longingly into the stewards’ breath-taking eyes.
Some reach out to stroke their matchless cheeks.
They sigh, and smile, and will not leave.

They will not leave, that is,
until strikingly ugly staff arrive.
Malformed, misshapen, hunchbacked.
Tourists gasp, go pale, and even scream.
More faint, and all the rest flee.

The museum is closing early today because the staff are striking.
They shake their dreadful, perfect heads and close the doors.
Perhaps tomorrow they will break the curse,
of a phrase well meant but poorly put:

“The museum will be closing early today because the staff are striking.”