Taxidermy for the Giraffe

by Sarah Davies

Offspring of camel, leopard and tree –
what bastard this, what sport –
four of us to make the beast,
each with our specialty – my Mum the Mum in charge,
old Joan with Singer and with needlehooks,
Elien with her love of symmetry, shapes the skin.
I with my keen eye for vitality
emulate the muscles and the grace
they say is in the original, our aim to make the monster walk again.
Its head is a queen’s.
I order the eyes, garnets, deep in colour
so it appears to look. I wonder again
as when we made the elephant, are we not kinds of gods
and if not gods then women,with our gut sinew thread and our sawdust
which is surely how making God made Man –
if I’m not mistaken in the holy book,
which I may be, though mother, bless her soul,
would tell me stories, in terms of our good craft,
so I would understand without confusion,
the terrible scale of things.
In a far country, are animals we could never dream of,
things of useless beauty, accidents waiting to happen.
Have you ever seen the animal, alive,
fall on its knees to drink?