Julianna Baggott

Taxidermy: A Translucent Love Poem
March 14, 2013 Baggott Julianna

Taxidermy: A Translucent Love Poem


V. 1

We are bound inside of the taxidermied falcon.

[enter poem here]

The wings shiver just before they beat.


V. 2

The taxidermist’s tools:

Bone Cutter Forceps

Magnetic Brad Pin Pusher

Horn and Bone Saw

Flush Cut Trimmers

Pinking Machine

4 in 1 Rasp File

Leather Stretcher Pliers

Basic Field Kit

Breaker Tool

Automatic Awl

Awl Needles: Curved and Straight

Ear Openers

Leather Toggles

Gooseneck Hide Stretcher

Fleshing Blade

Fish Skinning Shears


V. 3

“An exceptional bird eye at an affordable price. T1SP glass eyes are a good choice for commercial
taxidermy work with a nice rounded profile and a flat back with no wire. For recommended sizes and
colors refer to our artificial Bird Eye Color and Size Chart.”

T.E. Bunn Naturalist Norwich.

E.F. Spicer’s shop lined with deer heads.

Rowland Ward Ltd. Of Piccadilly (1848-1912)

Edward Hart Anthropomorphic taxidermy – fighting red squirrels.

Greek for arrangement of skin.


V. 4

We are twin taxidermied falcons.

I’m still on the wood block, ankles cuffed,


one glass eye eying you.

My carcass is wood and wool but

this is still my skull,

I stand on my true legs.

(There’s talk of putting me in

a top hat at a tea party

or in the crowd at a boxing match

between two stuffed red squirrels.

Does it matter?

Only the carpet beetles can get us now.)

You’re already in your glass box, wings arched

head cocked

above a dead muskrat.

Remember live muskrats —

their warm hearts pattering madly?

The give of their ribs – wee and springy?

We are bound to the taxidermist.

We know his grunts, cinching up

His taut belly – oh, the buzz of bone saw,

the click of ear openers and the automatic awl.

Who better understands

a gooseneck hide stretcher

and fleshing blades and fish skinning shears

and bone cutter forceps than we do?

But he will never know what it is to be us.

(Oh, jealous stitching!)

He’ll never know how the wings shiver

just before they beat.

Julianna Baggott is the author of over twenty books including literary novels, four collections of poems, and weird whimsy for children. She’s published two New York Times Notable Books of the Year, an ALA Alex Award Winner, and Kirkus Best Book of the Year. She teaches in Florida State’s College of Motion Picture Arts and at the Vermont College of Fine Arts.