Autumn Opossums

Opossum Family 

 

Early morning darkness

bravely interrupted

by two reflective, glaring orbs.

Silvery white and flickering green.

A furry mass ambling

across the neighborhood street.

 

Slowing my car, I squinted at

the wide animal making its 5 AM passage.

I angered as she halted movement.

Her eyes flashing like the glowing numbers on my dashboard

screaming of my tardiness for work.

 

I wanted to honk my car’s horn

like an impatient truck driver during evening rush hour.

I wanted to get out and clap my hands

like a football coach after his team’s raucous huddle.

But the ambient homes slept

And the moon still shone.

 

She started moving, more slowly than before

and soon one became two, and two became three, and three became

nine small children tucked up into her body,

concealed from the lights of my car,

awaiting her next move for safety of passage.

 

The smallest ones latched onto her tail like mice,

the larger babies rode piggy back

clumsily pushing into her soft, bushy fur.

My anger deflated in awe of their wriggling movement.

Their efforts to survive –

Freshly eager, tiny rodents.

 

I gladly lit the way for the family to pass.

From one side of the street to the other,

Then perhaps alley to alley and dumpster to dumpster.

Mom stopped in the parkway on the right side of the street.

watching me as I cautiously drove forward again.

Noticing her wooly white hair upright in alarm,

I stopped as another small opossum popped into the street

Lost from the pack that had crossed.

Her glowering eyes looked into me.

The abandoned opossum was making me even tardier for work.

 

I flipped on my right blinker to direct him to his mother

The orange distraction uprooted him; he followed to reunite.

Along with his brothers and sisters,

Waiting aimlessly on the other side of the street.

Mom’s eyes morphed into a soft gray as she looked once more in my direction.

 

My car engine muted as I

turned off my lights,

inviting moon shadows

so she could scurry off with her children

past the sidewalk, safely to the underbrush.

 

I drove off, the orange light a penetrating memory

blinking wonderment in my mind.

 

I envisioned daybreak for those posturing opossums.

Their will for survival renewed.

 

I longed for my mother’s embrace.

Everyone is a child to someone.

 

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