Playing Possum

The possum lives underneath our pine tree

Where the seeds of unknown origin grew all summer.

The possum is ugly.

But, that is its only problem.

It knows it.

Its problem.

I don’t.

Have you ever watched a pumpkin rot?

It sinks in, the skin

Puckers. Plumps. Puffs.

In the heat, it would explode

Like human rot

In the cold it thins.

When I look across the field,

The clouds appear like smoke.

I think the smoke is fire

My eyes don’t know anything my brain

Talks about

Its only winter exhaust

The kind that rolls through side streets

Growing,

Clinging,

Dirt made visible.

I see the cat behind the barn

On straw. Alone.

Clumped, marred skin and fur

Not the white DNA of birth.

“There’s nothing I can do to help her,”

I say.

Snow dampens my boots.

“She won’t let me help her,”

I add.

No tears. No sweat. All ice.

“I don’t buy into spirit animals,” Dad says.

“I’d like to be an eagle,

But with my luck I’d be a possum.”

I’m jealous of the possum.

The possum is ugly.

But, that is its only problem.

It knows it.

Its problem.

I don’t.

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