Skunk in the full moon

Forest moon

1:13 a.m.

I hear you rustling in the woods.

Who are you?

It’s so hot.

So full moon hot.

Sweat drips, soaks sheets, midsummer’s sauna.

Run cool bath water and recline.

Ahhh, feel better, don’t you?

Who’s rustling beneath the full moon?

I see the moon and the moon sees me,

but who are you, fat waddler,

crackling leaves beneath your paws?

Mountain lion, bobcat, raccoon?

In dappled shadow

are you friend or bear,

foe or fawn, or both,

disguised as moon shadow?

Why am I suddenly nervous,

scaredy-cat cooled by moon breeze

and moths?

Will you  jump on deck in single leap

and lick my hot face?

What fantasy, striped rustler,

oh, yes,

a waddling black and white skunk,

snuffling, minding your own 1:13 a.m. business

a scaredy-skunk of the shadow on deck,

some hulk of person illuminated by fireflies.

Telltale stripe

You scurry into brush;

I scurry into house,

delighted, oh delighted,

in skunk’s sacred midnight visit.

You know, don’t you, skunk medicine

is precious?

It transforms what we imagine

negative, unapproachable, stinky, sweaty.

We remember our freedom,

innate freedom,

full moon birthright.

We see clearly in the dark.

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
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21 Responses to Skunk in the full moon

  1. Dawn says:

    That was really close to a skunk! We have them too…so far Katie the dog has managed to avoid being skunked. They ARE pretty through…

  2. I love this writing style from you! Happy 4th, Kathy! Thank you.

  3. P.j. grath says:

    Kathy, the skunk is beautiful. I don’t want to startle a skunk (or have my dog startle one), but they are lovely creatures, and your observation about re-imagining what we usually see as negative reminds me of a book I can never recommend too often–THE VOICE OF THE INFINITE IN THE SMALL, by Lauck, which makes a convincing case for humans to make more of an effort to get along with insects and spiders and not make constant war against them. –I know that’s a far cry from your holiday theme, but I couldn’t resist. Happy 4th!

  4. bearyweather says:

    I have noticed that Skunks tend to be oblivious to their surroundings … a shade of arrogance as they waddle around the woods knowing no one will mess with them.

  5. bonnie says:

    You write, and I am there. I see the moon, sense the moth’s fluttering wing, smell the faint odor of black and white, and I too quickly retreat.

  6. lisaspiral says:

    The moon was beautiful last night! I remember a story from my childhood about a pet skunk named Betelgeuse. Don’t remember the name of the story but in spite of the smell I’ve had a secret fondness for “forest kitties” ever since.

  7. Lori DiNardi says:

    Okay, lady, I tried taking a photo of the last full moon and none of them came out. How do you do that? I know, I know, you aren’t responding to comments this month. It’s just rhetorical anyway, and a little envy. 😉

  8. Susan Derozier says:

    Kathy – This brought back a memory of years ago when I heard noise in the night and went out to see what I thought was the neighbor cat going through my garbage. I went out and proceeded to scold the cat as I tried to chase it home. Just then it turned around and I saw the white stripe. Simultaneously, I heard a meow and turned to see the neighbor’s cat coming up behind me. Needless to say, I made a hasty exit back into the house.

  9. Wow, Kathy, what an incredible powerful ending! Great poem!

    (Sorry to have been away all week. Tomorrow’s post should explain my unusual absence from the blogosphere. I’ve missed reading your posts.)


  10. Heather says:

    Skunks are so cute. From a distance 😉 Loving the full moons lately, but the heat? Not the best timing for the upper 90’s!

  11. dearrosie says:

    Beautiful photos. You could win a prize with the moon shot. How did you capture the skunk from below like that?
    Love the last verse of the poem.

  12. sybil says:

    Love the moon shot.
    Baffled by the skunk shot. Until I read Rosie’s comment, I thought it was a shot of “road kill” … lol

  13. sonali says:

    Nicely composed!! 🙂 see ya soon, until then take care 😀

  14. Dana says:

    Very nice, Kathy! I’ve never been that close to a skunk, and I kind of like it that way. 🙂 they are beautiful from a distance, but I’m not willing to risk the stench of getting too close…

  15. Carol says:

    You speak such lovely words, albeit not necessarily about pleasantly aromatic topics. Made me think of the evening, when Bailey was just a puppy, that I opened the door and we went out, wherein she immediately took off like a bullet (a fluffy, slightly round black bullet) and I saw that what she was pursuing was one of those cats with the black stripes on its back. Moment of horror, but skunk managed to get into the dark scrub next door and puppy returned with no special gift.

  16. wolfsrosebud says:

    Now… look who’s writing poetry… nice

  17. Love the little baby skunks. I had two families living under my house at one time. They did not like for me to have company, therefore, they “perfumed” the house and the company usually left 🙂

  18. As kids staying at the cottage in the summer, we’d nervously head home after an evening movie at The Clubhouse, panning our flashlights into the bush, making sure we didn’t come across these striped fellows unexpectedly. Thanks for bringing up the cottage memories. 🙂

  19. Robin says:

    Lovely. 🙂

    I almost encountered skunk in the woods on my walk today. The distinct odor was overwhelming. I chickened out and turned back rather than continue on and meet up with the skunk. I guess that makes me the scaredy-skunk.

  20. Brenda Hardie says:

    I love that you see a skunk as a sacred creature…I wish I had an experience like that. My dog Chloe had a run in with skunk when we were camping up near Duluth…she didn’t get sprayed but the neighboring campsite and ours was heavy with skunky pewwww! It burned in my sinuses for 4 days! Never did see the critter but sure smelled it!

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