Since my last skunk poem blew up the net

I thought I’d hit you with another true tale

concerning our brother or sister, the skunk.

I was driving along as I often am

Just trying to get back to the mattress

when a minor flurry of motion

caused me to pull over and curse.

In a small grassy area between streets

was a large skunk shaking its head

but I couldn’t quite make out a face

because the head was stuck in a

glass jar. The pathos of the sight

sent waves of nausea from my

gut to my mind. Speeding cars

whizzed by on either side:

creatures on their way to

ball games, churches, grocery

stores, illicit trysts, and family

gatherings. I approached the

skunk and saw that he’d never

get that jar off his head by

himself. I also saw the long claws

attached to his front paws.

I had to help, but I didn’t want to

end up in a death camp called a

hospital, so I strained my brain

a minute, ran to the car, pulled out

the work gloves and a crutch.

I lightly placed the padded end

of the crutch over the front paws

then pulled the jar with both hands.

It came off. The skunk lifted his snout

in the grey air and took some

breaths. He looked okay. I brought some

cat food from the car and placed it

it near him. He sat there

on the grass and looked at it.

I hopped in the car and headed back

to the mattress. At home I kept thinking

about him. I called a rehabber who said I

should have syringe fed him honey just

in case. I was too tired and soul sick to move.

The next day I drove back to the

scene. The skunk was gone along with

most of the food. The old mattress felt a

little better after that.

— Fyodor Bukowski

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