Poets logo

The Taxidermy Haunting

by Katie Alafdal 16 days ago in social commentary

a poem on home

The Taxidermy Haunting
Photo by Marc-Olivier Jodoin on Unsplash

When I was very young, my

Grandmother forgot me in the garden,

(Hot summer tomatoes, writhing hyacinths)

(Summer strawberries ripe as blood)

(Scalding sweetness behind my eyelids)

And I wandered until I came

To the dead-breath air of a bedroom.

Quilts and civilized wood,

Mirrors, torn paperbacks, pillows stuffed with goose feather.

This was where body after body was made,

The trauma of a bird deleting herself.

But above it was mounted a deer’s head.

Glassy dark eyes.

A mouth set slack, I could see the softness

Of a tongue.

Antlers, pale like bone or else branches.

Run through

With raises and roughness,

Childish thoughts wander into gleeful feeling,

Fingers meandering, remembering—

Preservation or the unsalvageable?

The deer, stuffed, undisturbed

Was to me a picture of

Masculine grace and softness, and yet to

Touch him was to be unsatisfied

(The hollowness of a body).

social commentary

Katie Alafdal

queer poet and visual artist. @leromanovs on insta

Receive stories by Katie Alafdal in your feed
Katie Alafdal
Read next: Poem: New Life

Find us on socal media

Miscellaneous links