A distant chime of the midnight call begins;
As slow, even footsteps echo in the empty hallway,
A phantom wind rustles the hairs on the massive beast.
A second chime, a little louder, replies
To be answered by lights dimming to darkness
And the checking of locked doors; a thoughtless task
With sweet grass aromas of long ago, drifting through-out the room.
Third chime and slight movement from the drowsy field mouse;
Same drill as always, quick glance with flashlight
And no one else but the cages of animals
As a gentle decline in temperature goes unnoticed.
Unaware with the tasks ahead, the fourth sings softly;
Barely glancing at the gems and stones on their soft thrones,
He shuffles along as he double checks the locks;
A once glorious coat becomes whole as fat layers thicken.
The fifth chime beacons louder,
Making his way to the butterfly house
He passes the pre-historic humans without a second glance
And a distant memory of when they were more than just bones surfaces.
The sixth and seventh rolled into one, a slight glitch,
He then turns to secure the butterfly house
And a weak thud-ump barely audible, awakening.
An eighth with a different chime calls out;
As he begins his tour of the animals of the world
A single escapee gently dances away with the air as its stage
Finds its way gently landing on the newly constructed trunk.
With the ninth chime breaking out in a sharp tone, the butterfly departs
While the remaining lights vanish and utter darkness consumes all,
A minor twitch of the ears and a slight shift in weight.
Tenth is forgotten as the eleventh reminds;
Gathering his items back at his station,
Security cameras endlessly rolling their silent films,
Air fills the lungs and eyes open suddenly.
As the twelfth chime tolls out,
The security guard locks the main door behind him –
A good meal and a comfortable bed await him,
And he leaves with the final clink of the lock,
A roaring trumpet fills the Smithsonian as he steps of his dais.