The taxidermist did not get her limb exactly right,
and it wasn’t because there were no other parts to
provide a scale or further sense of relevance, but
rather because he had not caressed the long smooth
length a thousand times or ever felt secure in the once
perfect placement with its other attachments. I’d given
him photographs – obviously – and also the love letters
she had written to me in those early years when her
words were as if we touched when being read, yet this
wasn’t a feeling he could get second-hand, which I am
glad to say even with the finished piece suffering so in
consequence. I paid him all the same, knowing how any
one of us can fail despite our skills and intentions, though
why he didn’t paint her nails blue will always dismay.

Mike Ferguson

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