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The Taxidermist


By Grace FollettPublished 5 months ago 2 min read
Runner-Up in Sensational Challenge
The Taxidermist
Photo by David Clode on Unsplash

'Nature is perfect' she said

Hands stained with formaldehyde

And drug store perfume

A starling is stretched and divvied up

across the operating table

In the kitchen

Watching a parrot

Waiting for dinner

The parrot knows it is a parrot because its plaque says so

It won third place

For its excellent color

Asylum pink

That won’t let you sleep

And fine stitching

Feathered embroidery

The rest line the walls

Like dried peppers at market

Or a mechanic’s livelihood

Seeds and oil stains

And the dull sense

That the dirt has already soured

And spring won’t be missed

Doubled hangovers and heads split in two

It’s unseasonably warm, isn’t it?

Or is it me?

Cold, basement sweats

Running cool like saline and needles

'We try to capture it' she said

Dropping tagged corpses in my lap

Slipping them out of sandwich bags

Letting them fall open

Like discarded angels

All so frail

Held together like preschool projects

Mangled bones better used to pick your teeth

And fine skin

Like silk left too long in the sun

Or tissues through the dryer

Rolling between my thumb and my forefinger

Like a familiar thigh

Or uninvited blemish

Stitched veins

Like leaves

Catching on my nail

Like threadbare linens

The feet are never quite right

Always left clawing for something

Out of reach:

Their organs in the bin


Or the scalpel

That peeled them from the windshield

They are sturdier

On their cutting boards


Warped styrofoam

Like science fair projects

And bad plastic surgery

Beady unseeing eyes

And vibrant feathers

That seem to leap and crash

To follow you

And say

Are you even looking?

'Nature is perfect' she said

Filling my mouth with spoiled

Funeral home flowers

And spare ashes

'We try to capture it'

I swore I heard

Their dissected heart

From the waste

Or a cry

From a swallow

'But we never can'

It must have been the oven


About the Creator

Grace Follett

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Comments (3)

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  • A. Lenae4 months ago

    The voice and descriptions in this piece are hauntingly unique and beautiful. What a special poem. Congratulations!

  • Cathy holmes4 months ago


  • Congratulations 🎉

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