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Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Pictures, trophies, America by Karen Chamisso

Description won’t save you Marianne
Playing possum in a still life
“in tolerably good light” drawing what I can
every Popeye with an Olive Oyl wife

is the dollhouse dream. I dream it too
though my skin and bones were built on killing
not on visits to the zoo
or Audubon’s bird book whilst I’m chilling

out in bed after seeing the doctor.
Audubon hired a boy to search out nests and
 “assist in skinning birds” – wh/ wouldn’t have shocked her
haunter of antique shops and

flea markets and amateur of all the freaks
 – I recognize myself, a skinned thing
as freak as any carved out of teak
trailing a disease from my wings

or: “a small spotted bird, standing a little pigeon-toed
with a waiting expression…”
Waking, I find the taxidermist has sewed
my mouth shut, like the last passenger pigeon.

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