the taxidermists's lover he talks animal all into the night while i barefoot myself into my books. take handfuls of ground beef & lay them to rest in the cast iron pan. heat teaches away pink and red. he tells me i'm prone to over cooking things. like him, i want to be sure what we swallow remains still. his hands like dead doves. his throat, the warden of an old piano. outside i stare into the woods looking for a ghost. when i was a boy i used to make burials for bird skeletons i'd find up on the hill by the old decaying housing. nothing but their bricks. i would knit flowers into their feathers & say an our father. the church bells would come over me like a flock. then, one day, i lifted a bird i thought was dead & he came back to life. fluttered & called & disappeared into the trees above the railroad. i prefer the full creatures. stay away from him when he works on just a face. a row of elk & deer staring foreward like a jury. their bodies still running away. should it trouble me he is just as careful with the dead as he is the living? climbs into me. traces a finger from my chin to the center of my chest. kisses my neck. we have so many last suppers with just our skin. a drawer of glass eyes. real eyes becoming no wheres in their dirt. this week he mounts a barn owl & i have visions of waking up to find the bird alive again & perched on the bedpost. my lover still asleep. me awake. me awake opening the window & telling the bird to go.