The opossum is coming
And her sun is the moon
And God knows where she’d slept all day,
This shambling rat-tailed slum
Of cheap fur and a poor man’s stew—
Our chronic Lazarus
In her back-from-the-dead pallor;
But every night is opening night,
And she is always so gorgeously costumed
For the Shakespearean role of her own corpse.
The opossum has arrived
And what is noble in persistence
With her kits clinging to her fur
Like the Joads on their wavering jalopy,
This everlasting marsupial
On her proven diet of almost anything
The natural is the sufferable—
Feasting on the roadkills until she joins them,
The onrushing headlights are so mesmerizing—
Though she is ever nostalgic
For a windfall of grubby fruit
And the welcoming arms of a tree.
The opossum is—
No longer with us.
The banner headlines of her sudden death
Are an understatement.
There she lay:
Breathless body limp,
Sloe eyes glazed,
Her filed teeth bared,
And that perfume, don’t tell me—Decomposition.
Et tu, Brute?
Where are you when we need you.
This truly born actor!—
She’s never even heard of death.
You almost expect her
To bear out the autopsy,
When after the bravos,
The falling curtain,
The emptied theater
Like that one-hit-wonder Jesus,
Like Rip van Winkle—
Where have I been since the Late Cretaceous?
It doesn’t matter—
The Four Horsemen of The Apocalypse
Have galloped passed
And the opossum is on her away,
On her grim tramp through this Anything-But-New World—
Her endurance run of twenty million years,
This ghost of Eras past
And Eras to come,
Bearing it all with that bloodless, many-toothed grin of her skull—
The last silent laugh will be hers.