“Smelling Skunk”

Here’s how I know I live up North: it’s snowing,
I go out for my walk, the zest of ice stings my face,
the whole neighborhood smells like skunk. No,
I’m not putting here down, especially not the skunk,
poor fellow wanders the night streets to burrow
into shelter. But at home his black-and-white coat
(striped like that guy’s walking past), at home
that coat would get him all through winter outdoors.
Look: poverty is the same there as here, and not.
The trailer park Daniel writes about, the swampdirt
shit no sump the children run through and laugh,
the landlord takes the money and does nothing,
thin metal walls, like an oven baking in summer
indoors. Here the walls are brick thick plaster,
inside now people lean into the gas oven’s mouth,
heat reddens their faces like the sun’s breath.

Minnie Bruce Pratt

Attribution-Non-Commercial-No Derivs
Creative Commons 2010

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