“Mother Possum” by Marissa Rose

I saw her dead body curled at the crook
where two country roads crossed each other–
the casualty of some SUV or F150, no doubt.

Knowing that opossums are marsupials,
I wondered if she once pouched her babies
like coins inside a purse,

feeling their jangling every time
her underside skimmed a fallen log
or river stone.

I wondered if she looked for danger
not by eyesight, but with the nerves
inside her skin; the way my mother’s forearm

would jut out to brace my collarbone
whenever our car cleared a speed bump.
The soft pressure of her index finger

remaining on the seat belt
long after the road smoothed again,
as if to reassure herself I was really there.

roseMarissa Rose’s work has previously appeared in print or online with Breadcrumb Scabs, The Lyric, and Word Riot, among others. Find her somewhat reticent blog at marissacoonrose.com, or on Twitter at @mcrose1186.