Life Taxidermy

By Brie Huling

There was no one here to tell me I was wrong.

In taxidermy, you skin the animal first
like removing the skin of a chicken.

I’m casting my own form here,
but I am an amateur. It’s pretty obvious.

& you have cast me queerly, firm tendrils falling away. . .

The glass eyes don’t come until later if at all.

I am a pigeon pea.
I am a cowpea.
I am a split pea.

My coils are concentrated.
Crossed and desiccated.
A little tiny puzzle of wild guesses. Sprouting. Again.

Suddenly an invisible leaf or branch!
Paper-thin confusion.
A cabbage butterfly.
The layers are hardly limpid here.

It’s the slipping away of things.
You are a teeny leaf trembling on my chest.

I am trying to find a form for you without all the internal organs and blood.
A unicorn, a jackalope, a mermaid, a griffin the rogue of it all, please.

I am a legume.
I am a hunter.
You are in a museum.
Your eyes are glass now maybe plastic and still see almost everything.

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