by Jim Carruth
(Odontochile spinifera, Barrande 1846, trilobite,
Eifelian Devonian, Morocco)
“Faking trilobites is not a new invention”
How to identify fake trilobites
Jens Koppka, Heiko Sonntag and Horst Burkard
How do I know who you are or claim to be
when pretence can reap such great rewards ?
Am I right to be suspicious seeing there in front of me
not the dull black lustre I find in many of your kind
but a variety of reds and browns, unnaturally shiny,
devoid of the cracks, terrace lines on free cheeks
that would mark the stresses of your journey to date;
tubercles, nodes, ridges and pits all smoothed over.
I can see it in your eyes, those individual lenses.
Your little bubbles on the surface are part of the act.
Even this hard bed you lie in doesn’t ring true to me.
I’m told using a UV–light might expose what is hidden
or taking a solvent to your short body reveal more.
Some touching up does not cross the line into fraud.
I could bite into you right here and now to test you–
a fake will always feel softer on the teeth than truth.
If all else fails a slice in half with a diamond blade
will once and for all reveal the void beneath the show.