"there's no through trail" —Han-Shan, translated by Gary Snyder

Opossums by Rebecca Baggett

Issue: Spring 2017

 

Opossums

 

Possum after possum strewn along
the mountain road, their guts strung out
like red flags signaling danger, danger
to their unlettered kin. So many I lost count
or no longer noticed, as if I walked past
petals scattered from wind-battered camellias.

But today at the children’s zoo, I watched
a possum poke her white face from her nest,
its doorway swaddled for freezing nights
in bright blue and pink fleeces, the colors
in which we swaddle our young, watched her tug
the blue one draped over her head to wind it
over her face,  then tuck herself back into her nest
for her long day’s sleep.  Outside the wire,
I stood and mourned at last all her lost kin,

their sharp canny faces,
keen eyes dazzled by the terrible light.


Rebecca Baggett’s poems have received four Pushcart nominations and appear in numerous journals and anthologies.  Recent work appears or is forthcoming in Atlanta Review, The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, december, Miramar, and New Ohio Review.  She is the author of four poetry collections, the most recent of which are God Puts on the Body of a Deer (Main Street Rag) and Thalassa (Finishing Line Press).  A native of North Carolina, she has lived for most of her adult life in Athens, GA.