Terri Kirby Erickson: “Albino Opossum”


Moon-marked, a bloated, bone-white marsupial
lay still in the road. No more lumbering through
the tall grass snout-first, its pale belly dragging

the ground like a choir boy’s cassock. Solitary,
nomadic, and different since birth from its sisters
and brothers, this pallid possum stepped alone

onto the asphalt, claws clicking until it keeled
over as opossums will when frightened, and never
got up. There wasn’t a mark on it from the metal

beast that barreled into its body, only a mound
of milky fur—its mouth, the pale pink of ballet
slippers, baring all fifty of its sharp little teeth.

Terri Kirby Erickson is the author of five full-length collections of poetry, including her latest book, Becoming the Blue Heron (Press 53, 2017). Her poetry has appeared in Asheville Poetry Review, Atlanta Review, Boston Literary Magazine, Christian Science Monitor, Connotation Press, Cutthroat: A Journal of the Arts, Journal of the American Medical Association, North Carolina Literary Review, Verse Daily, and many others.

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