Walking up to the trap, he was striking, in the grey thicket.
Up close his fur was glorious. Luxurious.
It might have made a woman's hat. A queen's robe--
ermine reversed, argent on sable. But he wore his skin
for everyday: it was mudstreaked, stained around his feet.
Already the blood was caking brown, another mudspot
marking the bullet's invasion of his tiny brain.
Oh, he had a wicked little head, pointed to his nose,
like a weasel, or a miniature bear. Such a pretty,
wicked little head,
and that dainty mouth
full of needle teeth and meatsmell.
My brother says skunks are clever beasts,
like foxes. This one had a clever face, but his black eyes
by then, looked only dead.
Already the stink of his panic was fading.
We tied his feet, like little hands, with a plastic cord
i carried him an armlength away from me
as the smell faded,
and we walked home together, Ben with his .22 and the trapping bag,
and me, and the dead skunk,
such a little weight.