Jacques J. Rancourt

Albino Skunk

I did not forget
it was still a skunk
that it still possessed

beneath its pure fur
the twin purses
of its anal sacs

did not forget it
could still lift the plume
of its bottlebrush tail

into the air
do its handstand of
death and drench me

with its reek for weeks
when one night walking
home drunkish well past

midnight I saw one
step into a patch
of moonlight

blue and slant as desire
hopping over the grass
as if it disdained grass

I could not help
myself that misfortune
occurs of course

I had not forgotten
as I approached too close
but only to other people

Jacques J. Rancourt is the author of two poetry collections, Brocken Spectre (Alice James Books, 2021) and Novena (winner of the Lena-Miles Wever Todd prize, Pleiades Press, 2017), as well as a chapbook, In the Time of PrEP (Chad Walsh Series, Beloit Poetry Journal, 2018). A recipient of a Wallace Stegner Fellowship from Stanford University and a Halls Emerging Artist Fellowship from the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, his poems have appeared in AGNI, Boston Review, Kenyon Review, New England Review, and Virginia Quarterly Review, among others. Raised in Maine, he lives in San Francisco.