Ode to Taxidermy
Once this was a stag.
Begin with the ruler, the tape
measure. The slow incisions,
the skull saved for later. Once
this was a fox. Smoke the fur,
press it between books until it dries
to a smooth sheen. Once this was
a pheasant, now it is a pheasant
never caught. Desk fans flutter
the feathers into just–landing.
Next the wire, extend it inside
and around so life coils, a bloodless
pulse behind the glass. The mouse
and its paper–skin. The bear’s jaws propped
Heather Bowlan's writing has appeared in New Ohio Review, Nashville Review, Day One, the Ploughshares blog, and elsewhere. She serves as the Chapbook Editor for BOAAT Press and Assistant Poetry Editor for Raleigh Review.
More from Vol. 34, Issue 1
MC Hyland and Becca Klaver
Tomas Tranströmer, trans. Kelly Nelson
Andrew S. Nicholson
Francisco Urondo, trans. Julia Leverone
Anja Utler, trans. Dani DiCenzo