The Possum

He is dead weightin my aching arms. Motionless body, rhythmic breath. I’ve been bouncing, jiggling, singing, twirling, rocking for minutes that feel like hours, like a stoned teenager at a rock concert.

We’re there now; I’m sure of it. My arms are done and shaky. His breath is regular and measured. His body is limp and folded and tucked into my own.

However the feeling changes, I never know. It’s barely a breath, hardly a movement. Maybe a toe wiggle? Maybe not even. It’s a feeling that someone else has joined me in the room when, just a minute ago, I was alone.

After all of that, he pops up grinning from ear to ear and eye to eye. No rest for the weary; no rest for the mommy.

Does the possum change its breathing just before its predator backs away? Does it open one eye, or crinkle its nose, or give off any hint of being awake and alive? Does it grin mightily at the trick it pulled?

Does its predator feel as defeated as I do? Does it pray and make deals with God asking that the possum stop playing with it?

Does any creature anywhere care about any thing as much as a mother cares about getting her baby down to sleep?


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