“I think sometimes we so much want our readers to “get it” that we tell them what the poem is about by using an epigraph, when what we should be doing is trusting our readers’ intelligence and allowing them to bring their own interpretation to the work.”
Yes, exactly this. The points about trusting the readers to ‘get it’ is huge – and also, I think it’s better to leave doors open for readers in general. If they go somewhere entirely other than where we meant them to go, but they go and it’s good, that’s good. My epigraph might make the poem smaller, not larger.