TAXIDERMY FOR TROUBLED BOYS by Emily Anne Hopkins

Taxidermy-for-Troubled-Boys

TAXIDERMY FOR TROUBLED BOYS
by Emily Anne Hopkins

We have full run of the parlor         We chatter
amongst ourselves about the humidity, how
it pulls at our seams. We want           to swoop down

for a peek through Norman’s peephole
while he is up the hill, switching in.       and out
of his floral dress and grey wig. But our plaques

are heavy……….under our talons. The light
……….from his windows— going on and off,……….on
and off— winks in our glass eyes.

We have all felt a knife………. between our feathers:
the girls at the bottom of the lake and us on……….our mounts,
heads cocked and beaks……….full of sawdust.

Norman says we are not like other beasts.
He means we are not like his mother,……….that in death
our mouths have not pulled back into a permanent,

gruesome smile………..Are we like these girls then?
……….Preening and perching and wandering helplessly
into traps?……….Yes and no………..We were shot out of the sky,

died of old age, fell to the earth like pieces……….of metal.
……….We wish the swamp would stop singing
with their bodies,……….that someone would toss

us from their cupped hands into the air.
……….What use now:……….our
iridescence,……….our sharp eyes,……….our quick, hollow bones?

There was a boy who fed us. We brought him presents: heart-shaped
……….pendants,………. bits of curled bone,………. green aquarium glass,………. a filigreed septum
ring, bits of blue plastic, screws, smallest pearl buttons.

There was a girl who hunted us. In our bathing, or our swinging
down to clutch at mice—……….she stopped us, like turning
off a lamp………..We live in her second……….home, we live in her son.


Emily-Anne-HopkinsEmily Anne Hopkins received her BA in creative writing from Albion College and is currently a poetry candidate in the University of Pittsburgh’s MFA program. There, she reads for Hot Metal Bridge and teaches creative writing. She was recently awarded the Academy of American Poets Graduate Poetry Award, judged by Jessica Helen Lopez.

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