skunk

James B. Nicola

  half squashed     on the solid stripe
          mid-route      which once meant
                    so ineffectually      Don’t Pass

  how constipated      slow
          the disappearing      how valiant
                    and florid      the aroma

  a good hard rain      like the mourning of the sky
          should do the trick      but doesn’t

  car after car      passes by
          until the matter’s gone      but on my feet
                    and sniffing      so persistently

  I find the guts      at the side
          in brindled sand      moved surely
                    by some compassionate      busy hand

  every day      the stench
          gets less
                    and less 
                                yet makes my nostrils
                                        shudder  
                                                    even now

  persistence      coming
          only with      putrescence

  against my will      I cannot but
          rethink      Belief
                    in the After-Life 

  of All

            





 

James B. Nicola's poems have appeared in riverbabble; the Antioch, Southwest and Atlanta Reviews; Rattle; Tar River; and Poetry East. His full-length collections are Manhattan Plaza (2014), Stage to Page: Poems from the Theater (2016), Wind in the Cave (2017) and Out of Nothing: Poems of Art and Artists (2018). His nonfiction book Playing the Audience won a Choice award. His poetry has received a Dana Literary Award, two Willow Review awards, a People's Choice award from Storyteller, and four Pushcart Prize nominations—from Shot Glass Journal, Parody, and twice from Trinacria—for which he feels both stunned and grateful.

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