Too late I spy the possum in our yard up north
where Walloon Lake crowns
our home in the wild.
Zorba, our eighty-pound shepherd has locked
onto a furry mammal making its way
slowly across our lakefront.
“Zorba, No!” I yell, and recall last spring
when he ran, full bore, after a bunny
in our Pittsburgh backyard,
snapped the rabbit’s neck like a twig. He figured
he could do to the cottontail what
he did to his squeaky toys,
was confused by the bunny’s refusal to play, and blissfully
ignorant of jeopardizing Easter. Now I watch as Z-boy
tosses the possum high into the air.
I catch Zorba before he can do more, stare at
the possum’s creamy wind-rippled pelt,
its furry fatality. Back inside our home
I tell my wife, a physician, there’s
a dead possum in our yard and beg her,
accustomed as she is to the cold
morbidity of life, to take care of the body.
After calling me a coward, she sweetly
grabs a garbage bag and heads outdoors.
But in our yard there is no moribund marsupial.
Our awesome little omnivore has vaulted
the River Styx, tricked Hades, played possum!
Charlie Brice is the author of Flashcuts Out of Chaos (2016), Mnemosyne’s Hand (2018), and An Accident of Blood (2019), all from WordTech Editions. His poetry has been nominated for the Best of Net anthology and twice for a Pushcart Prize and has appeared in over eighty publications.