To Fly Through: Learning Skulls

by K. McGiffert

read it in the correct order


He had an arrogant tilt to his head when he spoke. “No, that is not a rodent’s skull” he corrected, “it’s a rabbit’s.” “How can you tell” I asked because I really wanted to know. “Oh, various features” he said, impatiently. I continued to stare up at him. “Well,” he sighed, tinkling his drink, “See, there are little extra incisors behind the front set—here’s the diastema, but rodents have that too. And, of course, the rabbit skull is fenestrated.” I could see what the diastema was when he pointed, but I wasn’t sure about fenestrated. I looked at him, waiting. He sighed. “Lots of, kind of like honeycomb, little windows.” And he turned away to the couple next to him. I reached up to take the skull off the mantlepiece as the party buzzed around me. I loved the idea of someone’s skull having little windows. And the network of windows looked made of spun sugar. In the delicate sugar was a secret of rabbits. I loved rabbits, their vulnerability, the way they kicked playfully in spring twilights, the long tender ear to stroke. But then he came back to me, saying “The skull is from a rabbit I shot and ate. Then I boiled it and gave it to dermestid beetles to clean up for me.” He was proud, I could see. I looked into the spun sugar until it hardened to bone.



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