How to Stuff a Rabbit

The first knife cut is the most important
Because it decides whether or not you have a hand that is patient
Or one that will ruin the room, that will torment those around you,

And you must be kind.

You will know everything as you shave paths
Through skin and body
Because you’ve never realized that there is something in between
Life and living,
Because for a person, once you pass the skin, it’s just blood.

Even in death, be particular about the company you keep.

And you’ll never get through it all because when you get to the ends
When you hold tiny hands in yours you won’t go around
But cut through, and there will be a piece of everything that it’s ever held
And you will take it through this final process.

Gently touch those you love as you disassemble them.

Rub and clean and pack and sew
Everything is details then,
Even in how the eyes stare up at you from what remains
And you know that the last requirement of all artists is to

Eat your carcasses.

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Behind Glass

It is easy to forget when you stand in
The Museum of Natural History
That most of the creatures there were alive once.
We see them, still, snarling, roaring, pondering,
Perhaps with young at their side that was most probably not theirs,
And we can’t imagine that this could be as strange a thing
As a photograph of a stranger’s child suckling at a woman’s empty breast,
Eyes regarding no hint of recognition
Only glass surrounded by flesh and glue.

It is easy to forget how once these things moved
And ruled the land and ate and bled and died
Because in passing, they seem like art
In the empty sense of art that is supposed to be an impression of something real
Instead of a reality that breathed air and broke bones,
That fell to the ground and rather than be eaten by carrion
Was carried to a land across air and sea into a sterile box
Shaved and styled and filled with artifice

And it teaches nothing unless the lesson that people seek is
How a full existence can escape decay
And offer meaning in whatever form the onlooker desires

Even when there is nothing actually there.