Taxidermy Poem

Little squirrel. You are mittens, you

are a fresh new set of gloves.

Until, my baby spies

the subtlest of openings on our mantle piece. She says,

“don’t you remember the good ole days?”

She says it as a song, a hummingbird trapped mid-larynx.

And you know the time she conjures: a shack

waiting quietly beneath a sheet of fresh white snow.

Inside?

a mausoleum of furry heads, plaques, all strapped and bolted

permanent fixtures on post and beam walls. The fire

roaring in the fireplace, a small stuffed critter

dancing just above.                           Childhood.

 

Those were frivolous times, penny loafers and warheads,

a bleeding sour tongue.

And these now are the days of reinvented possibility:

how many times might I barbecue with these same coals?

And all those ancient trophies seem somehow more barbaric.

I need you gloves, like I need nuts, like shelter.

Squirrel, I’ve forgotten how to dismantle your topography

to make you dance again.

 

The lady wants to watch you jig over Christmas stockings,

but marbles are too big to be your eyes.

 

-Christ!

 

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