Jane Arthur

We have complicated feelings about taxidermy –

the preservation of species,

spectacle of animal bodies, cuteness

and morbidity, death in general –

but there’s always a moment

when we focus on our low-level fear

of catching a movement:

a twitching paw, tail flick, lid wink.

We’ve rarely hoped so hard for something

to remain dead – mostly to avoid

the startle in a public place,

as when a gunshot sounds in a theatre

and our hands leap to hold our hearts

and we laugh, astonished.

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