The dim stink of skunk carried in
From the woods isn’t unpleasant—
Distance and diffusion
Make it more perfume than weapon
And it mingles in the brainpan
With a memory you can’t put a finger on
But linger over anyway—a vaccine
Couldn’t be, without a speck of infection;
Anti-venom is drawn from pure poison;
And the life you lead on this land
Was allowed by the death of your parents.
It hurt, but diffusion and distance
Make it bearable. When you live with a constant
Scent in your nostrils, you can’t
Stand it at first, then come to love it, then
It grows so faint you forget its existence.