The Skunk

I thought it was a squirrel peeking
through the shutter slats;
but upon closer looking,
I thought I saw a cat.
It wasn’t any feral type-
perhaps no cat at all.
It may have been an opossum,
nude tail bearing all.

The strangest part of seeing
whatever it may have been
was the tiny cap upon its
head, a wee cloth bag
slung across its back–
with a curled, red ribbon trailing.

So, what happens to the rhyme
You ask? It will pop up here
or there. It is not about the
form so much, but the rabbit–
or the hare that scampered
from my window sill
at Christmas morning’s light
and stole all nostalgic
thoughts and dreams of singing
elfin mice. Those reindeer hooves
upon the roof, those Sears
and Roebuck toys, the advent calendar
ajar, all candy now enjoyed:
That smell! Oh my! It must have been
that nasty skunk outside
who peered within, then seeing us
let out his heavy sigh.

He left a stench that’s hard to miss
Impossible, for sure. And then I thought
of one more think–an unthought thought
in years: the skunk as oxymoron–
Its perfect stripes delight us,
despite its strong parfum.
Perhaps it wants a lovely home
like mine with kids and gifts
To celebrate and sing within, perhaps
he saw our tree and simply wanted in!





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