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.