Home 9 Issue 9 Preserved in the Asphalt by Emily Burton

Emily Burton, age 24 (alum)

I wrote this poem after watching the “Becoming” podcast about the Natural History Museums of Los Angeles County. My mother used to take me to the museum and the La Brea Tar Pits when I was struggling the most with my dyslexia, because science was one of the few things I always wanted to read about.

Preserved in the Asphalt

I scraped my knees playing alone
on the asphalt of the Valley
so you carried me to La Brea,

walked me through the seeps
and the spills
of the place where it all began.

And I looked into your eyes
and I looked into the remains
of the Pleistocene

and you held me a little closer
and you told me: there will always
be a soul here if you go looking.