The Possum

He is dead weight
in my aching arms.
Motionless body,
rhythmic breath.
I’ve been
for minutes that feel like hours,
like a stoned teenager
at a rock concert.

We’re there now;
I’m sure of it.
My arms are done
and shaky.
His breath is regular
and measured.
His body is limp
and folded
and tucked
into my own.

However the feeling changes,
I never know.
It’s barely a breath,
hardly a movement.
Maybe a toe wiggle?
Maybe not even.
It’s a feeling
that someone else
has joined me in the room
just a minute ago,
I was alone.

After all of that,
he pops up
grinning from
ear to ear and
eye to eye.
No rest for the weary;
no rest for the mommy.

Does the possum
change its breathing
just before
its predator backs away?
Does it
open one eye,
or crinkle its nose,
or give off any hint
of being awake and alive?
Does it
grin mightily
at the trick it pulled?

Does its predator
feel as defeated
as I do?
Does it pray
and make deals with God
asking that the possum
stop playing
with it?

any creature
care about
any thing
as much as
a mother
cares about
getting her baby
down to sleep?


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