Joseph Bruchac


Hide Room

In my father’s hide room,
taxidermist’s son that I am,
I first caressed the pelts of foxes,
tanned skin supple,
comforting to touch.

I’d seen, in the
unheated skinning room
the pile of peeled carcasses:
red ratlike tails,
bones bulging beneath
stiff striated muscles,
deep blue congealed eyes
blank as albumen,
legs broken where
the iron teeth of money
snapped, tore into flesh.

But each night in my dreams,
I covered them with new skins,
fur of silver stars,
and the promise
to share breath
with all alive.





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