| The Silent Zoo
Why stop at a stuffed donkey?
A small room is only limited by the lines,
and sawdust. Once the garage is scuttled
for a den, possibility crosses
the room like the taxidermist's wife.
She's not exact, but clever.
So the lion overarching the desk
is not so much leaping
as climbing the ladder.
Genius like that is the poor vehicle
of the heart, presupposing another
honest reaction. Let's face it,
we all love her. She would bleat
better than a goat
standing in an ocean.
The Taxidermist's Cat
A molar I dedicated to modern acts of camoflauge,
and banned from my collection, has ceased.
hairline fractures disappearing into the
fundament. It's neighbor, a baby tooth
that has no substitute, clings on, but over
time, has become less a tooth and more a curate's
egg, over which I stand guard. Which reminds me of a cat I knew
who lived behind the great glass architecture of a doorway
relish. I met her through proximity and habit,
hers and ours, which meant we had similar timetables.
I called the cat Potato because she was notable for
her coat: a sentimental recipe for a gravy of
castaway bacon with spots of anchor and buried gripe
we melted for cheap cuts of cod, poured as trim for
pealed and boiled reds, the perfect colors of
disguise for a cat in a season of old snow
like today, thirty years later, and she still sits with
head tipped to catch the roofline, ready to greet
the sinus of a new winter's day. It meets us now as
the approximate reduction of a devotion,
ignoring even the smell of dinner cans. Even I
know this collapsed stare, authentic to gentleman
specialists, their suede jackets mildewed with rotting field
notes, reminders that anything properly observed can be
mistaken. Because displayed here is an example of
a man who is afraid of rats,
and only accurate to seventy percent.
Christopher Burawa's book manuscript, The Small Mystery of Lapses, won the 2005 Cleveland State University Press First Book Competition and appeared in April 2006. His chapbook of translations of Icelandic poet Johann Hjalmarsson’s poetry, Of the Same Mind, won the 2005 Toad Press International Chapbook Competition and was published last summer. He has poems published or forthcoming in Prairie Schooner, The American Poetry Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, and The Connecticut Review.