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Mama Possum

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Mama and I had silent dates, 
mother-daughter escapades
full of shopping, dinners, bait,
and you know I love you attempts.
On our way to El Zarape
in her garnet Volvo sedan,
we came to a stop light
at Pomegranate and Klein.

Mama possum lay ahead
on the pavement in a puddle
of herself, joeys torn from her back;
scattered nearby,
strewn in a bloody band,
little lumps fanning out from the impact.
She’d trailed entrails
to reach her offspring,
glass-black eyes wide
having watched her babies die.
Five kernels of her fruit
plucked before their time,
before they’d had enough to get ugly.

I looked at Mama
to see how I should be
after seeing a thing like that.
She placed her hand on my knee,
checked my seat belt, tugged it tight,
tight-lipped and quiver-chinned
as she steered and shifted gears.

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