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In your poem, “Tuscaloosa in July,” edges seem to proliferate. We're not fully in the woods, but at its boundary, and the skunks’ bodies are all “jaggedness.” Yet the scene is, arguably, tender: the skunks are sheltering on their mother’s body.  This tenderness strikes us as the “something / meaningful” occurring here, but that assertion of meaningfulness makes us wonder: For whom? Humans only exist in the last line of this poem as the creators of the junk flooding past these skunks, but do we also exist as the makers of that meaningfulness? In other words, does the wondrousness of the “life raft” derive from the actions of the skunks, or from the tendency of the human observer to project a narrative onto the scene?

I don’t know if the answer is either. I think the poem is a question about usefulness. The skunk body is a bridge – it’s useful to the living animals around it. It’s useful to the future world because it is compost. As for human animals: yes, of course we exist as makers of meaningfulness, but I do not think our presence necessarily imparts wondrousness. As a species of animal, we are appalling in our legacy – here I’m thinking specifically of our legacy of Waste. Even the gentlest of us will leave behind tons and tons of garbage. Is there another creature that destroys their own home this way? The wonder is, that given this truth, we can look at another animal like a skunk and think we are fundamentally better than that creature. I guess my wish for humans is that we look at other creatures – and fellow creatures – and consider how we can live our lives in a less intrusive way. A way that is more meaningful and useful.