Taxidermy by Antonia Alexandra Klimenko

When I die 
I want to be stuffed 
stuffed and mounted on the wall 
like some poor old deer 
who got caught in the headlights 

Not just the antlers mind you 
but the whole fucking catastrophe― 
glass eyes    mop of hair 
scars stretching beyond Wyoming 
Gutted by the skin of my teeth  
like dead animals and birds 
I want to be filled with that special fake something―
that makes me look like I’m alive―
the stuff that dreams are made of

When I die 
I want to hang around 
collect dust 
remind everyone 
that even if I am well past 
my expiration date 
I’m still here 
Well   perhaps not in any 
meaningful way  
but a testament to  
my long shelf-life 
(perhaps a little shelfish of me)

How strange  
to be so prominently displayed 
in my own absence… 
able now   to appreciate  
the trophy I really was 
in anticipation 

Keeping alive  
the art of keeping the dead alive    
takes talent― 
one I don’t have   as of yet 
and a souvenir   that won’t keep 
until only   after I’m gone 

Life’s funny that way

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