The Manchester Review
David Wagoner
Three poems
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An Introduction to Taxidermy

The Latin roots of your craft
mean simply Rearrangements
of Skin
, so the optimum posture
of your game animal
          should be to recreate
          what nerves (now missing) knew
          that we can only suppose:
          how muscle and bones and sinews
(now mostly gone) can change
the shape of a living creature
in an instant. Your customer
and all his later admirers
          should believe those glassy eyes
          staring at them are focused
          on a choice about to be made
          in the wild to swivel backwards
and disappear through high grass
and shadows, to still be alive
and turned by light and leaves
and you to a resurrection
          poised now behind glass.
          Your aim should be the hunter’s:
          to be unnoticeable,
          to be forgotten about.